The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Jonathan Haidt – 5 Moral Values Behind Political Choices

Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 25, 2008

In his TedTalk, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes five moral values that he believes form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center.

To read a related Situationist post, see Jonathan Haidt on the Situation of Moral Reasoning.”  To review a collection of posts examining the the situation of ideology, click here.

Posted in Ideology, Morality, Politics, Video | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Law, Psychology & Morality – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 13, 2008

Kenworthey Bilz and Janice Nadler have posted their manuscript “Law, Psychology & Morality.” (forthcoming in Moral Cognition and Decision Making (D. Medin, L. Skitka, C. W. Bauman, & D. Bartels, eds., Academic Press, 2009)) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

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In a democratic society, law is an important means to express, manipulate, and enforce moral codes. Demonstrating empirically that law can achieve moral goals is difficult. Nevertheless, public interest groups spend considerable energy and resources to change the law with the goal of changing not only morally-laden behaviors, but also morally-laden cognitions and emotions. Additionally, even when there is little reason to believe that a change in law will lead to changes in behavior or attitudes, groups see the law as a form of moral capital that they wish to own, to make a statement about society. Examples include gay sodomy laws, abortion laws, and Prohibition. In this Chapter, we explore the possible mechanisms by which law can influence attitudes and behavior. To this end, we consider informational and group influence of law on attitudes, as well as the effects of salience, coordination, and social meaning on behavior, and the behavioral backlash that can result from a mismatch between law and community attitudes. Finally, we describe two lines of psychological research – symbolic politics and group identity – that can help explain how people use the law, or the legal system, to effect expressive goals.

Posted in Abstracts, Law, Legal Theory, Morality, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Punishment

Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 24, 2008

Mary R. Rose and Janice Nadler have a nice paper, “Victim Impact Testimony and the Psychology of Punishment” available for downloading on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.

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A growing body of empirical evidence from psychology, sociology, law, and criminal justice has demonstrated that lay intuitions about punishment are strongly rooted in retributivism: i.e., the idea that punishment should be distributed in proportion to moral desert. Level of harm is often thought to be indicative of desert, but harm described by victims (or survivors) in the context of victim impact evidence is subjective and often unforeseeable insofar as it is attributable to chance factors. How do observers (such as jurors or judges) use information about consequences determined by chance factors when they judge punishment? The emotional and cognitive processes involved in jurors’ use of victim impact evidence potentially reveals key insights about the psychological mechanisms underlying laypersons’ punishment judgments generally. This paper explores empirical evidence for the notion that the subjective harm experienced by the victim of an offense serves as proxy for the level of defendant’s effort and culpability, and by implication, the perceived seriousness of the crime.

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For a related Situationist post, see “Why We Punish.”

Posted in Abstracts, Emotions, Law, Legal Theory, Social Psychology, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Great Attributional Divide – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 29, 2008

Image by aaardvaark - FlickrSituationist Contributors Adam Benforado and Jon Hanson have posted their recent article, “The Great Attributional Divide: How Divergent Views of Human Behavior are Shaping Legal Policy” (57 Emory Law Journal (2008)) on SSRN. The paper was recently listed on SSRN’s Top Ten download list for LSPLDL: Political Process, and is a featured article on the Emory Law Journal Website. The abstract is pasted below.

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This article, the first of a multipart series, argues that a major rift runs across many of our major policy debates based on our attributional tendencies: the less accurate dispositionist approach, which explains outcomes and behavior with reference to people’s dispositions (i.e., personalities, preferences, and the like), and the more accurate situationist approach, which bases attributions of causation and responsibility on unseen influences within us and around us. Given that situationism offers a truer picture of our world than the alternative, and given that attributional tendencies are largely the result of elements in our situations, identifying the relevant elements should be a major priority of legal scholars. With such information, legal academics could predict which individuals, institutions, and societies are most likely to produce situationist ideas – in other words, which have the greatest potential for developing the accurate attributions of human behavior that are so important to law. (To download a copy, click here.)

Posted in Abstracts, Ideology, Legal Theory, Life, Naive Cynicism, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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