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There are now 17 comments on pg 51. Scientific Experiment.
What are your thoughts?
  1. HE’S ALIIIIIVE! Great to see you back, I always look forward to reading this.

  2. C says

    This comic has actually kinda-sorta (there were other factors too) pursue a degree in paralegal studies. So yeah, significant tangible results from effort, woo.

  3. Considering what we already know about human memory, I’d say this is, indeed a bad experiment.

    I mean, for one thing, it’s not repeatable at all, so you’re not testing the hypothesis.

    Also, I think I’ve lost track of how this story even started. =/

      • I think that the problem is most lineups feature multiple people who could have done it. If the witness is able to pick a single suspect out of a large number of impossibles, that’s good evidence – they’d be likely to do that if they knew the real criminal, but unlikely to do so if they didn’t. And even more importantly, if they get it wrong, you’ll know for sure that they’re wrong and you can’t rely on their evidence.

        But if they pick one suspect out of multiple possible suspects, that doesn’t add much information. They might have done that because they recognized the real criminal, or they might not have recognized any of them and just guessed blindly. If they get it wrong, you’ll never know.

        • I was mistaken. According to Wikipedia, this is already how they do this. Wonder what the issue is. Is it just experimenter effects? Do the decoys tend to act less guilty than the people who are actually under investigation?

  4. Raen says

    Since it looks like we’re moving on from the contrast to general principles, I’ve heard there are other advantages to the photo array over the physical lineup, such as the witness not necessarily knowing how many faces there will be, and the examiner not necessarily knowing where each face is in the lineup.

  5. Furslid says

    I wish it was true that the cops didn’t want false ids. But cops, like everyone else responds to incentives. Do cops get punished for false convictions? Or do they get rewarded for any conviction and not rewarded for unsolved cases?

    It seems that cops have incentives to clear cases, and clearing them by convicting the innocent is better than leaving the case unsolved. It might even be better than taking a lot more time and work to find the guilty party.

  6. PD says

    After watching “The Wire”, I am extremely suspicious about cops not wanting false convictions…

        • “Based on” does not mean “an accurate depiction of”. Any sort of crime drama plays up the “drama” far more than it does the “realism”. The goal is to get people to watch, after all, and unethical cops are way more interesting than ethical ones.

          Also, google “non sequitur”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  7. Kereth Midknight says

    Hmm. “More scientific” perhaps, but all we see so far is literally the exact same thing as the “unscientific” versions before. The interrogation methods all did the same steps 1-3 (Ask whodunnit, gather evidence, decide on a suspect). If there’s a difference, it’ll be in the contents of step 4 (an experiment that hopefully reliably checks for guilt, rather than just generating evidence of guilt). Seems likely to be better, but the chart doesn’t prove much for me, when I compare it to the strategies before.

    • Best as I can tell, the difference is in step 5, and in the fact that there’s a 5A and a 5B. Back with the old lie detector “experiment”, we did the same thing no matter WHAT the actual results were: tell the suspect they’d failed and interrogate further. Here, the actual results do affect what we do next!

      The implementation of it isn’t necessarily an ideal experiment – there’s certainly all sorts of confounding variables, stuff we could be missing, blah blah. But this basic model is an experiment because we change our conclusions based on what we experience (experience, experiment – I wonder if they have similar word origins!)

      • I think both words come from the Latin “experiri” (ex = from, periri = going through), which could mean “to attempt” or “to prove” or “to find out” or even “to experience.” An expert, “peritus,” was someone who was experienced, who had literally “gone through” something.

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