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Join the conversation! There are now 23 comments on this chapter's page 49. Cross-Race Identification: Worse Than You Think. What are your thoughts?
  1. Gregory Bogosian says

    The comic is trapped in an infinite recursive loop. I hope that it can get out of this without a hard reboot.

    • This explanation of how memory and face-recognition does feel pretty damn long compared to other arcs. He’s covering a subject that intersects with law, but isn’t actually law.

      I don’t know about anybody else in the audience, but I just want to get on with how the law treats this stuff rather than more unfunny Hippocampus puns.

      • As someone doing a phil minor with an eye to get into law, this is fascinating. Both the things I already knew and the stuff I did not. I’m especially looking forward to where all of this ties back into the actual criminal proceedings and how, people can be unreliable in court.

      • I’ve been a fan of this section, but It has made me feel like earlier sections could be covered in more depth, particularly Mens Rea. Though perhaps I just tend to get in arguments with SJ people who think that punishment (or social sanction) for an act shouldn’t have anything to do with the actor’s mindset or intentions.

        • “Though perhaps I just tend to get in arguments with SJ people who think that punishment (or social sanction) for an act shouldn’t have anything to do with the actor’s mindset or intentions.”

          Yes, until they, or someone close to them, makes a mistake.

          • Yep. A lot of the more hardline people tend to be younger. They don’t have the breadth of experience to work with. This is a blessing and a curse, has been with us for a long time, and people are pretending it’s new because it’s easier to become visible now.

        • One of the parts that I think could have used a little more was Miranda. It never ceases to amaze me how many people believe the myth, “If you aren’t read your rights, they have to let you go.” I’m genuinely stunned by how often I’ve encountered that misconception. I had really hoped on a huge debunking “Nooooo!” like the one in the section on entrapment.

      • I definitely disagree — there’s nothing wrong with this arc at all.

        Not much to add, just want to counterbalance that opinion.

      • Not all who study law aspire to just win cases. I for one would love to be the fairest judge I can be, and this section has been a great education for me.

    • Not really saying this is a bad arc or that I don’t like it. I have learned a lot so far, and I can clearly see why Nathan felt this was important.

      On the other hand, a large part of this arc has been restating things in different ways. There’s a clear delineation between how well Nathan teaches Law and how well he teaches neuroscience.

      • I teach college. I can’t get past the implication that “restating things in different ways” is an indication that something isn’t being taught well.

        • Different people learn in different ways and “click” on different things. Restating may be a necessity, at least until you’re able to discover the universal teaching tool for every topic.

  2. After looking at it for the 4th or 5th time, I was suddenly amused by frame 2: “The horror of other-race faces!” :-)

    Nathan, you seem to be making a compelling case for forbidding other-race eyewitness IDs, except as hints for an investigation (and same-race ID doesn’t look too good either).

  3. Burke says

    It’s something for people in all parts of the criminal justice system to consider. For a defense attorney, picking apart that eyewitness testimony is vital. For a district attorney, or the police conducting the investigation, knowing that other-race eyewitness testimony is going to be shaky at best should drive them to make some more definite piece of evidence the keystone of their case. The eyewitness makes a good dowsing rod, pointing them in the hopefully-right direction, but physical evidence is more reliable. Everyone adapts, and the standard of justice improves.

    Or at least, that’s how we’d like it to work.

  4. No response or posting from Nathan in over two weeks. I hope he is okay. Or, maybe we hurt his feelings and he won’t finish the comic…
    “Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators.”
    — Albert Camus

    • I’m here! I’m here! I was just super-busy with “work” work and kid stuff until yesterday. I got back to work on the comic again this afternoon, and hope to be posting a lot more over the next few weeks.

      And I hope I write clearly, not obscurely! If not, let me know. If I get anything wrong, let me know. If you think any of this sucks, let me know. Trust me, you’re not going to hurt my poor widdle feewings.

      • Good to know you’re OK and as someone packing in their job in a week to retrain in law I would say from the POV of a student you’re writing has been very clear. It’s usually best read in chapters rather than post by post but what isn’t on the internet.

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