The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘retribution’

Talk on the Situation of Retribution

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 1, 2011

Title: “Punishing Jaws: Experiments  on  Retribution  Against  Nonhuman  Perpetrators”

When: Today – April 1st, at 12PM

Where: Griswold 110, Harvard Law School

Who: Situationist Contributor and Drexel Law School Professor Adam Benforado and University of Pennsylvania Psychology Professor Geoff Goodwin will discuss historical and empirical research regarding retributive punishment imposed upon animals.  They will then use this evidence to draw inferences about human intuitions regarding punishment.

Free burritos!

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Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Emotions, Events, Legal Theory, Situationist Contributors | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

The Situation of Punishment in Schools

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 24, 2009

honor-codeMarc Fisher of the Washington Post has an intersting piece on recent research by Colgate University social psychologist Kevin Carlsmith.   We excerpt the piece piece below.

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Colgate University psychologist Kevin Carlsmith looked at the consistent support for the University of Virginia’s legendary honor code–an example, he posits, of a policy that “assigns extreme punishments for minor offenses.” Under the code, any case of lying, cheating or stealing leads to expulsion. No lesser punishments are possible in the system. Carlsmith wondered why that system remains so popular and he theorized that people love the clarity and simplicity of the approach in the abstract, even if they are often offended by how it plays out in reality.

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Carlsmith decided to look more closely at our attitudes toward tough punishment schemes.

Carlsmith found that most people choose punishments designed more for retribution than to create any deterrence against future wrongdoing. People often endorse punishment systems that they later decide–after they see them in action against real people–are unfair. “A person focused on deterring future crime ought to be sensitive to the frequency of the crime, the likelihood of its detection, the publicity of the punishment, and so forth,” the professor writes.

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For the rest of the piece, click here.  Last November, we blogged about Professor Carlsmith’s research on the satisfaction some feel from torture.

Posted in Education, Law | Tagged: , , | Leave a 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 »

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