Sunday, March 25, 2012

Emotional pain shares the same neurology as physical pain

The Neural Bases of Social Pain: Evidence for Shared Representations With Physical Pain
Experiences of social rejection or loss have been described as some of the most ‘‘painful’’ experiences that we, as humans, face and perhaps for good reason. Because of our prolonged period of immaturity, the social attachment system may have co-opted the pain system, borrowing the pain signal to prevent the detrimental consequences of social separation. This review summarizes a program of research that has explored the idea that experiences of physical pain and social pain rely on shared neural substrates. First, evidence showing that social pain activates pain-related neural regions is reviewed. Then, studies exploring some of the expected consequences of such a physical painYsocial pain overlap are summarized. These studies demonstrate that a) individuals who are more sensitive to one kind of pain are also more sensitive to the other and b) factors that increase or decrease one kind of pain alter the other in a similar manner. Finally, what these shared neural substrates mean for our understanding of socially painful experience is discussed. Key words: social pain, physical pain, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, brain, fMRI.  Here is the link. 

Motivating people to give to a good cause

The Mechanics of Choice - Association for Psychological Science

The Mechanics of Choice - Association for Psychological Science

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Optimism Bias

Will jurors who suppress compassion be more closed minded about safety rule violations?

The Cost of Callousness

Regulating Compassion Influences the Moral Self-Concept
  1. C. Daryl Cameron and
  2. B. Keith Payne

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  1. C. Daryl Cameron, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Psychology, Davie Hall, Campus Box 3270, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270


It has often been argued that compassion is fundamental to morality. Yet people often suppress compassion for self-interested reasons. We provide evidence that suppressing compassion is not cost free, as it creates dissonance between a person’s moral identity and his or her moral principles. We instructed separate groups of participants to regulate their compassion, regulate their feelings of distress, or freely experience emotions toward compassion-inducing images. Participants then reported how central morality was to their identities and how much they believed that moral rules should always be followed. Participants who regulated compassion—but not those who regulated distress or experienced emotions—showed a dissonance-based trade-off. If they reported higher levels of moral identity, they had a greater belief that moral rules could be broken. If they maintained their belief that moral rules should always be followed, they sacrificed their moral identity. Regulating compassion thus has a cost of its own: It forces trade-offs within a person’s moral self-concept.
Psychological Science March 2012 vol. 23 no. 3 225-229

Just 60 Seconds of Combat Impairs Memory - Association for Psychological Science

Just 60 Seconds of Combat Impairs Memory - Association for Psychological Science

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Juror Bias Warrants New Trial After Defense Verdict In Medical Malpractice Case

In Fields v. Saunders the Oklahoma Supreme Court recenlty granted a new trial based on juror bias in a medical malpractice case that ended in a defense verdict. Fields  In the case, later in the day after the defense verdict was rendered one of jurors walked into a bar and made the following comments to an attorney not connected with the case: "(1) the plaintiffs would have never won the case with him (the juror) serving in the case, (2) he (the juror) was not impartial despite stating in voir dire he could be, and (3) he (the juror) wanted to "play the judicial system" and believed plaintiffs had the burden to prove the defendants intended harm beyond a reasonable doubt before they could recover."

Attitudes and biases like these are not uncommon among  jurors, based on my years of research on juror decision making. We have known that  some people called for jury service can never be convinced that to decide for patient and against a health care provider no matter what  evidence is presented and despite strong evidence of malpractice. The case is over with before it begins with such jurors. Moreover, like the juror in Fields, many jurors require a burden of proof far greater than what the law requires. Often no level of proof, no matter  how strong the evidence, is satisfactory with such jurors.

What is uncommon, nonetheless, is a case getting reversed based on juror bias. The courts should take notice that juror bias like this is much more the norm than the exception and be vigilant to eradicate such bias through thorough and thoughtful voir dire. In this case, the juror intentionally mislead the parties in voir dire. Most jurors are well meaning and are motivated to do the right thing. Many jurors though can unconsciously have the same level of bias as the juror in Fields, while not intentionally trying to be deceptive. These jurors, while well intentioned, are simply not consciously aware of the level of their bias or wrongly assume that they can hold their bias in check. See Ross, et. al. Naive Realism

The opinion worth reading! Fields

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Interesting article

Suspicious Minds: Exploring Neural Processes During Exposure to Deceptive Advertising

Adam W. Craig, 1
1Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business Administration, University of South Florida.

Yuliya Komarova Loureiro, 2
2Assistant Professor of Marketing, Fordham University.

Stacy Wood, 3
3Langdon Distinguished University Professor of Marketing, Poole College of Management, North Carolina State University.

Jennifer M.C. Vendemia4
4Director of the Center for Advanced Deception Detection and Associate Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina.

When viewing advertisements, consumers must decide what to believe and what is meant to deceive. Accordingly, much behavioral research has explored strategies and outcomes of how consumers process persuasive messages that vary in perceived sincerity. New neuroimaging methods enable researchers to augment this knowledge by exploring the cognitive mechanisms underlying such processing. The current study collects neuroimaging data while participants are exposed to advertisements with differing levels of perceived message deceptiveness (believable, moderately deceptive, and highly deceptive). The functional magnetic resonance imaging data, combined with an additional behavioral study, offer evidence of two noteworthy results. First, confirming multistage frameworks of persuasion, the authors observe two distinct stages of brain activity: (1) precuneus activation at earlier stages and (2) superior temporal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction activation at later stages. Second, the authors observe disproportionately greater brain activity associated with claims that are moderately deceptive than those that are either believable or highly deceptive. These results provoke new thinking about what types of claims garner consumer attention and which consumers may be particularly vulnerable to deceptive advertising.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upcoming CLE--- Latest Psychological Science in Jury Decision Making and Trial Advocacy


Program Information

Save $50 when you register before March 2!
Registration Fees:
AAJ Member Early Bird Fee: $645
AAJ Member Registration Fee: $695
You can attend your first AAJ Education Seminar at 50% off, if you are an AAJ member & have been admitted to the bar for five years or less. (Does not apply if you have previously attended an AAJ Education seminar or college).   
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Friday, March 30, 2012
Registration (Continental Breakfast Available)
8:00 – 9:00 am  
Morning Session
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Moderator Introductions and Welcome
The Science of Decision Making and Jury Bias Model 2™ • How psychological science can help us frame our cases
• The evolution of the Jury Bias Model 2
• Moral Psychology and its impact on jury decision making
• Using metaphor unconsciously to tell the trial story
The Jury Bias Model 2™ :  Identifying and Utilizing the Untried Issues
Identifying the Untried Issues • Preventing the untried issues from destroying your case
• Suspicion/mistrust
• Victimization
• Personal responsibility
Application of Suspicion/Mistrust, Victimization, and Personal  Responsibility
Lunch (on your own)
12:15 – 1:15 pm  
Afternoon Session
1:15 – 5:30 pm  
Stuff Happens or How Jurors Simplify Causation Anti-Plaintiff Bias
Using the Model in Trial Practice• Case Selection
• Discovery
• Trial Strategy
Using the Model in Settlement Negotiations and Mediation
Using the Model in Voir Dire
Using the Model in Opening
Using the Model in Direct and Cross
Using the Model in Closing
Networking Reception5:30 – 6:30 pm 
Saturday, March 31
Continental Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00 am  
Morning Session
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Moderator Introductions and Welcome
Understanding and Applying the Jury Bias Model 2™: The Science
Constructing Trial Story Using the Confirmation & Representativeness Biases
Analysis of the Trial Story:  Confirmation & Representativeness
Understanding Belief Perseverance, Using Availability, and the Norm Biases
Analysis of the Belief Perseverance, Availability, and Norm Biases
Using the Moral Psychology to Increase Blame
Staining the Character of the Defendant
Lunch (on your own)
12:00 – 1:00 pm  
Afternoon Session
1:00 – 4:15 pm  
Anchor and Frame Your Case
Integrating OJB Principles into Your Trial Practice• Discovery
• Mediation and Arbitration
• Trial