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Join the conversation! There are now 20 comments on this chapter's page 41. More Memory Malleability. What are your thoughts?
  1. Jesen says

    I’ve noticed that when I view the site on my iPhone the ads directly above and below the comment box are much longer than the other ones, which awkwardly compressed the page so everything can fit.

    Sorry for going off topic, but I just thought you should know.

    • Thanks! Mine’s an Android (with its own little idiosyncrasies), so I can’t really see what it looks like. Can you screenshot it and email it to me, and I’ll see if I can fiddle with it.

      Oh, and looking at the site I just now realized — when I redesigned it last week, I forgot to include an ad to buy my books! So I’ll be redesigning the ad space today, anyway. Wish I could just get rid of the ads altogether, but they do pay for the web hosting and other costs of making this thing.

      • Hi, sorry for the delay, yesterday was really busy. I just emailed the screenshots to the email on your legal site, hopefully that was the email you wanted me to use. Thanks for getting back to me.

        • Argh, thanks! Everything’s supposed to be screen width. Got it working on my PC, Android, iPad, and Kindle. Apparently didn’t get it working on the iPhone. Back to the drawing board…

  2. Why is it so common for witnesses to be under the influence?

    • I would guess it’s because many incidents happen when (possibly because!) the individuals involved are under the influence, and so the people who are around to witness it are also under the influence.

      When you’re drunk, you can TOTALLY take that guy. Who does he think he is? You’ll show him what’s what.

    • I imagine crime perpetrators like to go after drunk victims, with the mentality that they’ll be more vulnerable and less able to put up much of a fight.

      • Not so much the perpetrator’s modus operandi as it is the circumstances in which crimes might occur. If a crime took place in a situation where lots of people were drinking, that’s also who your eyewitnesses are likely to be.

        When you have eyewitnesses, the crime usually took place in public. A significant subset of publicly-occurring crimes take place in situations where drugs and alcohol are being consumed. About 1/3 of all violent + nonviolent crimes occurring in commercial places, for example, take place in nightclubs and bars. About 4/10 of all violent crimes in the U.S. involve alcohol, and oftentimes the perp isn’t the only one who was drinking. On campus, by some measures, more than 9/10 of college violent crimes & sex crimes occur in situations where there’s a lot of drinking going on.

        So a significant subset of crimes take place in situations where a lot of your witnesses may have been under the influence at the time it happened — and may be under the influence when making their ID.

  3. David Argall says

    At last.
    Now given what I am paying, I can’t really complain, but if you publish this for sales, I’d advise leaving about half the chapter out.

  4. The Fox says

    Speaking as a former correctional officer, trained in faces and details and other such things…. It was a crap shoot if I could remember in fifteen minutes, much less a year later, the face of someone who’d done wrong enough to gather my eye and ire. Even in the wake of an attack-and-surrender where the offender was right there for thirty to sixty seconds for me to study after he’d clobbered me. Cops are quick to ask for identification for a reason, and quicker to write it down. An ID card with info written down was my magic ticket to remembering who I was writing up, and my offense reports were written as personal cheat sheets – Alongside needing to be idiotproof for judges and juries. If any reports made it to court, we’re taught to read them over to refresh our memories before testifying, lest the cobwebs of our minds eat up the bits t’were important to others.

    • So police and other such jobs do have training in identification? I’m terrible at it; mere hairstyle changes can throw me off. But my perfunctory web searches seemed mostly to turn up references to facial recognition software and its adoption by police.

      Would a bodycam have helped save on the note-taking and been useful evidence in court?

      • Like Waffle Sorter, The Fox, and LDD, my memory for faces sucks. A police artist would probably have a hard time with me, even drawing pictures of relatives, girlfriends, and co-workers. Eye color? Beats me! I’ve occasionally had people recognize me (and they know enough to confirm that they’re fer-real), yet they seem just vaguely familiar to me, if that.

        On the other hand, when I was in college, one of my roomies shaved for an interview (a company notorious for requiring no beards or moustaches). When I saw him, it took me a few moments to realize why he seemed familiar… and he said I was the only one to recognize him; even his girlfriend didn’t. The lack of tan on the shaven areas made me realize he’d shaven.

        Nathan, can we get a scene about how good police artist / Identi-kit reconstructions are, even with bad memories?

  5. LDD says

    The third panel really needs to show the speaker to the right, a cartoon version of Mariska Hargitay.

    (Great, now I’m inventing my own easter eggs.)

  6. Jesen says

    I just wanted to mention that whatever changes you’ve made to the layout have fixed my problem. The comic isn’t compressed anymore. Thank you!

  7. CY says

    I noticed some complaints about this long section on memory and I just wanted to state the other side. I’ve kind of been told about all of this before in one way or another but having a long illustrated section like this has been really great. Knowing about memory and how to optimize it for the things that it’s good at and know not to trust it for the things that it is not is useful in all contexts. Also, since testimony is such a big part of court procedure it seems like knowing how memory works is incredibly relevant to law and how judges/lawyers/jurors have to treat it, so I don’t see why people are claiming otherwise.

    Thanks for your great work.

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