Read James Wang’s excellent notes from yesterday’s terrific conference here.
Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 27, 2011
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 25, 2011
From the Harvard Law Record:
Legal scholars have long been borrowing from economists to explain legal rules and doctrine. Examining the law through the lens of social psychological research is a more novel approach, one which will be front and center at the fifth annual Conference on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School. On Feb. 26 in Austin North, academics and students will discuss the latest research on the psychological causes and consequences of social inequality and its application to law and policy.
The conference, entitled “The Psychology of Inequality,” is an all-day event sponsored by the Project on Law and Mind Sciences (PLMS) and will feature four panels comprised of mostly mind scientists and several legal scholars.
“The larger ambition of the conference is to bring research of social scientists, particularly mind scientists, who are thinking about inequality to a legal audience,” said Prof. Jon Hanson, the director of PLMS.
Hanson has spearheaded planning for the conference, aided by his assistant, Carol Igoe, and about 30 law students, many of whom are part of the Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS), which was formed in Fall 2009. Part of the mission of the conference is to facilitate relationships between mind scientists and legal scholars and students interested in social science research – a cross-section of the legal community that is expanding, Hanson said.
“There is a growing sense that we are not going to understand our problems or how to solve them until we better understand ourselves,” he said. “Much legal theory in the late 20th century assumed that people are rational actors, and that our problems will be solved when the law gets out of the way of individuals pursuing their own preferences. Those assumptions are giving way to a sense that we’re not who we’ve imagined ourselves to be and that our problems are partially a consequence of that misunderstanding.”
SALMS President Matty McFeely ‘12 said it makes sense for law students to think about the implications of social psychological research as they embark upon their legal careers.
“The insights into human nature that are provided by psychologists are crucial for people who are going to go on to be future lawyers and policymakers, so they can make laws and judgments that are in the best interest of the people they are going to serve,” McFeely said.
Research about inequality is relevant to almost every legal issue – even those that arise in first-year courses like Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law, “Inequality and concerns about inequality are fundamental to the law,” Hanson said. “I expect we will learn a lot at the conference about why people understand equality the way we do, why it matters.”
The conference is free and open to the public. Because space and food are limited, prospective attendees are highly encouraged to register online at http://www.law.harvard.edu/conferences/lawmind.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 23, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
8:45 – 9:15: Continental Breakfast
9:20 – 9:35: Opening Remarks (“The Psychology of Inequality”)
9:40 – 11:00: Session 1
Inequality and Health Outcomes:
• 9:40 – 10:05: Ichiro Kawachi, “Is Inequality Damaging to Population Health”:
More than two decades of research in the health sciences has shown that social status affects health. Studies in humans and non-human primates demonstrate that individuals lower on the social hierarchy end up with shorter, sicker lives. In this presentation I will review the major theories put forward to explain the association between social status and health. For simplicity, I will use income as the indicator of social status. The major theories are: a) the absolute income hypothesis, b) the relative income hypothesis, and c) the relative rank hypothesis. I will discuss empirical evidence for each theory.
• 10:10 – 10:35: Laura Kubzansky, “Stress and Reslience: Pathways to Social Disparities in Health”:
This presentation will discuss stress and resilience as important mechanisms by which social disparities influence health. It will consider how being stressed or resilient is shaped by social environment, and whether these processes influence health.
• 10:40 – 11:00: Q&A
11:05 – 12:55: Session 2
• 11:05 – 11:30: Kristina Olson, “Young Children’s Understanding of Social Inequality”:
I will discuss recent research indicating that even young children (aged 3-5 years), have an understanding of social inequality. In my lab and others, researchers are finding astounding evidence that children routinely notice social inequality, they favor individuals and groups who are high in social status, and they often behave in ways that perpetuate inequalities between individuals and groups. I will describe these results, their implications, and will describe other behaviors children engage in that might offset some of these biases to uphold or perpetuate the status quo.
• 11:35 – 12:00: Arnold Ho, “The Perception of Biracials and the Maintenance of Group-Based Social Hierarchies”:
Social Dominance Theory (SDT) begins with the basic observation that group-based social hierarchy is a ubiquitous and stable feature of human social organization, and provides a general framework for understanding the persistence of inequality. In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of SDT, and focus on new research documenting how the biased perception of biracials may serve a hierarchy-enhancing function.
• 12:00 – 12:25: Amy Cuddy, “Outcomes of Warmth and Competence”:
I will present a new perspective on stereotyping and discrimination, based on experimental and correlational findings, that helps to integrate the vast research literature on this topic and provides a unifying conceptual framework. Stereotypes cohere into fundamental dimensions of warmth and competence that combine to create specific patterns of emotion and behaviors toward members of various social groups. These stereotype dimensions and the distinct forms of discrimination they foster apply to a wide range of groups, including mothers, ethnic minorities, older people, and people of different nationalities. In contrast to past theories that assumed stereotypes of women, minorities, and foreigners are predominately negative and hostile, these findings show how many groups are stereotyped ambivalently – as competent but cold or as warm but incompetent. These ambivalent stereotypes create more complex, but predictable patterns of discrimination. Knowing which form of ambivalence a group faces can help us to better understand when and how stereotypes are likely to be applied and, therefore, where to concentrate our efforts to combat discrimination.
• 12:30 – 12:55: Q&A
1:00 – 1:45: Lunch
1:30 – 1:45: At end of lunch, special announcements regarding PLMS; SALMS; Online Experiment Clearinghouse
1:50 – 3:45: Session 3
• 1:50 – 2:15: Aaron Kay, “The Impact of Social Inequality and Fairness Beliefs on Long-Term Goal Pursuit”:
According to a huge body of literature within social, personality, and organizational psychology, people are motivated to believe that their social worlds operate fairly — that is, that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get. Indeed, even people most at risk for unfair treatment — that is, members of socially disadvantaged groups, such as those low in SES and minority group members — often believe that the world largely operates in a fair and legitimate manner. Are there any benefits to believing that an obviously unfair world is reasonably fair? For those who typically perpetrate or benefit from injustice — members of advantaged groups — the benefits of such beliefs are easy to understand.However, for those who typically suffer from injustice the benefits of believing in societal fairness are less obvious. This raises an intriguing question: What are specific functions, if any, that these beliefs serve for members of disadvantaged groups? In the current research, we hypothesize that the belief in societal fairness offers a specific self-regulatory benefit for members of socially disadvantaged groups, allowing them to more confidently commit to long-term goals. Five studies support this hypotheses, indicating that members of disadvantaged groups are more likely than members of advantaged social groups to calibrate their pursuit of long-term goals to their beliefs about societal fairness.
• 2:20 – 2:45: Eric Knowles, “The Malleability of Ideology”:
Theories of legitimization typically posit that individuals engage in a process of “assortative endorsement,” seeking out and embracing ideologies that match their intergroup motivations. Thus, individuals high in Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) tend to gravitate toward ideologies that enhance levels of intergroup inequality; those low in SDO, in contrast, tend to embrace hierarchy-attenuating ideologies. Whereas assortative endorsement assumes that ideological content is fixed, I propose that many ideologies are highly “malleable.” Although certain features of malleable ideologies remain constant and consensual, other aspects of their meaning are actively construed to meet particular intergroup agendas. I discuss several malleable ideologies, including colorblindness, diversity, and patriotism. Finally, I address implications of the present perspective for understanding sophisticated forms of hierarchy-enhancement, ideological cooptation, and the manner in which individuals compete over the meanings of crucial ideologies.
• 2:50 – 3:15: Jaime Napier, “Essentialism as Rationalization of Inequality among Disadvantaged Group Members”:
System justification theory posits that beliefs that the system is legitimate can serve epistemic and existential needs to manage uncertainty and threat. Members of advantaged and disadvantaged social groups, however, differ in their levels of conflict between needs to feel good about the system and needs to feel good about the group and the self. I propose that differential levels of conflict among high vs. low status group members can lead to different system-justifying beliefs. Specifically, I predicted that high status group members will tend to endorse system-serving beliefs that assume controllability on the part of the self and others (e.g., personal responsibility attributions). Low status group members, by contrast, will instead justify inequality by viewing it as a reflection of the natural order of things. That is, when needs to justify inequality are high, high status group members enhance themselves (and derogate others) on controllable actions, whereas low status group members will derogate themselves (and enhance others) on innate competence. I tested these propositions in the context of racial and gender inequality. Results from five studies converge to support my predictions. By removing the locus of control from the self, group, and system, naturalistic rationalizations of the status quo can serve to reduce the conflicts between ego-, group-, and system-justifying needs.
• 3:20 – 3:45: Q&A
3:50 – 4:05: Coffee Break
4:10 – 5:55: Session 4
Law & Policy:
• 4:10 – 4:35: Adam Benforado, “Fair and Balanced: The Inequality of Embodied Justice”:
Recent research from embodied cognition provides evidence that the body is involved in the constitution of the mind. In this talk, I will discuss current experimental work examining how people’s intuitions about fairness and justice may be linked to sensorimotor experiences of balance, evenness, and symmetry. Although the connection is reflected in many of our legal structures and processes, I suggest that it may be deeply problematic.
• 4:40 – 5:05: Jon Hanson, “Inequality Dissonance and Policy Attitudes”
A great deal of everyday policy commentary and legal-academic debate seems to turn on conflicting attitudes toward markets and regulation. But where do those attitudes come from? Reason, logic, and experience? Based on research I’ve been doing with Mark Yeboah for the last several years, my talk will take up that question and provide evidence suggesting that nonconscious motives — including the desire to assuage the dissonance created by salient inequalities — play a causal role in shaping policy attitudes.
• 5:10 – 5:25: Q&A
• 5:30 – 5:55: Large Panel Discussion – Presenters and Faculty Conferees
5:55 – 6:00: Closing Remarks
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 19, 2011
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 12, 2011
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 10, 2011
Health & Equality
There is a burgeoning awareness that access to health care is an equality issue. With inadequate resources to access basic health services, women around the globe are impaired from functioning at the highest level. At the same time, health disparities perpetuate other disparities, leaving women who lack these resources behind their counterparts elsewhere. Women’s reproductive health needs make this question all the more stark. Our panel brings together leading experts in legal and nonlegal fields, who have a holistic perspective on health that grounds legal answers in community-based approaches.
Equality & Economics
Economic inequality influences people’s choices and shapes their worldviews. As such, it is necessary to continually interrogate the changing role of women in the economy. This panel brings together women who have broken through social and cultural barriers to begin to equalize economic environments. Coming from different fields in the public and private sector, each panelist has a unique perspective on what it means to equalize the workplace, as well as the broader economy.
Equality on Both Sides of the Bench
Women represent a rapidly rising percentage of litigators and judges. However, courtrooms remain one of the least gender-balanced arenas. In this panel, we have brought together leading judges and litigators who have been experience in breaking through inequality on both sides of the bench. We hope that a conversation between litigators and judges will lead to a broad and fruitful discussion about what it means to be a woman in the courtroom, and how we can work to build off of their foundational work to eliminate gender discrimination in courtroom settings.
Equality for Girls
When envisioning the future we want to see, it is imperative to think about how the next generation of women will be educated and nurtured. Continual efforts to eliminate gender discrimination in the schools and on the streets for girls around the world represent the best chance to positively affect the change we wish to see. Our girls panel brings together the women who are doing exactly this: influencing the lives of young women around the globe through legal, social, economic, and cultural means.
More details here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on February 6, 2011
On Tuesday, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) is hosting a talk by Suffolk Law professor Patrick Shin entitled “Unconscious Bias and the Legal Concept of Discrimination.”
Professor Shin is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School. He conducts research into the meaning and value of diversity in antidiscrimination law. He has applied psychology to real-world problems of employment discrimination law.
Professor Shin will be speaking in Austin East from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Free burritos will be provided! For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 29, 2011
On Monday, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) is hosting a talk by Tufts psychology professor Ray Jackendoff entitled “The Natural Logic of Morals and Laws.”
Ray Jackendoff received his Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT in 1969. His research centers around the system of meaning in natural language, how it is related to the human conceptual system, and how it is expressed linguistically. This has led him to a cognitive approach to traditional philosophical issues of inference and reference, embodied in his theory of Conceptual Semantics. In developing this approach, he has worked on the conceptualization of space, on the relationship between language, perception, and consciousness, and, most recently, on the conceptualization of such socially grounded concepts as value, morality, fairness, and obligations. In addition, in exploring how concepts are expressed in language, he has developed new models of the architecture of the human language faculty and its evolution.
Professor Jackendoff will be speaking in Pound 10o from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Free burritos will be provided! For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 22, 2011
The time to register for the Fifth Law and Mind Sciences Conference, “The Psychology of Inequality,” is upon us.
The conference will be held on February 26, 2011 at Harvard Law School. To register, click on the image above or here for the online registration.
For more information about the conference, click here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 22, 2010
The Fifth Law and Mind Sciences Conference: “The Psychology of Inequality”
At this year’s conference, leading social scientists and legal scholars will present and discuss their research regarding the psychological causes and consequences of social inequality.
The conference will be held on February 26, 2011 at Harvard Law School. To register for the conference, click on the image above or here for the online registration.
For more information about the conference, click here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 20, 2010
For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Dan Dennett at Harvard Law on ‘Free Will, Responsibility, and the Brain’,” “Interview with Professor Joshua Greene,” “Daniel Dennett on the Situation of our Brain,” “Dan Dennett on our Interior Situation,” “Bargh and Baumeister and the Free Will Debate,” “Bargh and Baumeister and the Free Will Debate – Part II,” “The Death of Free Will and the Rise of Cheating,” “Clarence Darrow on the Situation of Crime and Criminals,” “Person X Situation X System Dynamics,” “Situation” Trumps “Disposition” – Part I & Part II,” “The (Unconscious) Situation of our Consciousness – Part I, Part II, Part III, & Part IV” and “Coalition of the Will-less.”
Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 30, 2010
The Fifth Conference on Law and Mind Sciences, tentatively titled “The Psychology of Inequality,” is now being planned for Febuary 26, 2011 at Harvard Law School. More details will be announced soon.
You can learn more about our previous conferences here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 17, 2010
On Monday, October 18th, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) and the American Constitution Society (ACS) are hosting a talk by Yale professor Dan Kahan entitled “The Laws of Cultural Cognition, and the Cultural Cognition of Law.
Professor Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law at Yale Law School. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Kahan clerked for both for Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Harry T. Edwards of the District of Columbia Circuit United States Court of Appeals.
Professor Kahan is well-known for his work in the area of cultural cognition, or the study of how people assess the degree of risk in a given situation based on their culturally engrained concepts of good behavior. He leads the Cultural Cognition Project, which researches the history and impact of this phenomenon along with its mechanistic underpinnings. His work has had a profound impact upon criminal legal scholarship, particularly in relation to his theory that shame-based penalties should be implemented in criminal law.
Professor Kahan will be speaking in Austin North. Lunch will be provided!
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To review a collection of Situationist posts about cultural cognition, click here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 11, 2010
On Tuesday, October 12th, the HLS Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences (SALMS) is hosting a talk by MIT professor Drazen Prelec entitled Neuroeconomics.
Professor Prelec works in the departments of Economics and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. His research and publications have explored the insights that cognitive science can offer into the ways that the human mind makes economic decisions. His influential work has helped to found the nascent field of neuroeconomics.
Professor Drelec will be speaking in Pound 107. Free snacks will be provided!
For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Posted by Adam Benforado on September 15, 2010
If you enjoy following the Situationist, consider telling the editors here. As they explain, “Editors make the final decisions about what’s included in the Blawg 100; this isn’t a scenario in which the blawgs that receive the most amici are the ones that make the list.”
Comments are being collected until the end of the month.
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To read what others have said about The Situationist, click here.
Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 2, 2010
Mark your calendar! The list of speakers for the 2010-2011 academic year has been posted on the SALMS (Student Association for Law and Mind Sciences) website.
The current list of speakers is as follows:
- Jim Sidanius
- Daniel Dennett
- Drazen Prelec
- Dan Kahan [Situationist Contributor]
- Sam Sommers
- Nalini Ambady
- Patrick Shin
- John Jost [Situationist Contributor]
For details click here.