Tagged: psychology

The Work Of Elizabeth Loftus


Christian Boltanski. Les habits de François C, 1971.

Evidence-based justice: Corrupted memory

In a career spanning four decades, Loftus, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, has done more than any other researcher to document the unreliability of memory in experimental settings. And she has used what she has learned to testify as an expert witness in hundreds of criminal cases — Pacely’s was her 101st — informing juries that memories are pliable and that eyewitness accounts are far from perfect recordings of actual events….

There are ways in which traumatic memories of real events can be recalled after being buried for years, he adds, but without hard evidence, it is impossible to distinguish false memories from real ones in court. It is, therefore, possible that some claims of childhood abuse go unvindicated because of Loftus’ testimony, and this is the cause of much of the hostility towards her.

Ross Cheit, a political scientist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, started the Recovered Memory Project in 1995 to document and respond to what he says has been a one-sided debate. There are now more than 100 corroborated cases of recovered memory on his website (http://blogs.brown.edu/recoveredmemory), he says, including some on which Loftus had consulted.

Are You a Smoker and Impulsive?

Are You a Smoker and Impulsive?

We observed a significant positive relationship between impulsivity scores and reported craving. A negative correlation was observed between the impulsivity score and activity in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC).

…This is the first study on this topic, and so, results will need to be replicated in both licit and illicit drug abusers.

Front. Psychiatry, 16 July 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00067

Carl Hart Is The Man On Campus

Carl Hart will be speaking about his book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society this Wednesday in the Upper West Side. This event is worth going to for anyone in interested in the intersection of drug research with public policy.

Dr. Hart will share the captivating story of growing up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and reveals how it led him to pioneering work at Columbia University, where he became the first tenured black faculty in the sciences at Columbia. Though Hart is a popular lecturer with a joint appointment in the psychology and psychiatry departments at Columbia University, it’s his research – which involves administering methamphetamine, marijuana and other illegal drugs to human subjects – that has made him an increasingly prominent figure in academic circles. The study of drugs has traditionally relied on animal models — mice, dogs and sometimes monkeys. But Hart’s focus is part of an emerging insight: the best way to pinpoint the effect of a drug such as meth on humans is to study it in humans. His results have started to back this up, confirming that much of what we thought we knew about drugs of abuse may well be wrong. Hart is rewriting the theory of addiction and pointing the way to better treatments.

The Simulated Counselor Experiment

Under the wide screen where Ellie’s image sits there are three devices. A video camera tracks facial expressions of the person sitting opposite. A movement sensor — Microsoft Kinect — tracks the person’s gestures, fidgeting and other movements. A microphone records every inflection and tone in his or her voice. The point, Rizzo explains, is to analyze in almost microscopic detail the way that people talk and move — to read their body language.

“We can look at the position of the head, the eye gaze,” Rizzo says. Does the head tilt? Does it lean forward? Is it static and fixed?” In fact Ellie tracks and analyzes around 60 different features — various body and facial movements, and different aspects of the voice.

The theory of all this is that a detailed analysis of those movements and vocal features can give us new insights into people who are struggling with emotional issues. The body, face and voice express things that words sometimes obscure.

Read More: If Your Shrink Is A Bot, How Do You Respond?