I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week.
I try not to post about legal topics too often because I know most of my readers aren’t lawyers. I think this subject will be interesting even to people who aren’t immersed in the law on a daily basis, though. This week’s podcast recommendation is the ABA Journal’s Modern Law Library episode What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Crime? This episode is an interview of Kevin Davis about his new book, The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America’s Courtrooms. He discusses how jurors perceive and understand science and the potential benefits and drawbacks of using brain scans in court.
Are you listening to a podcast I haven’t mentioned yet? Let us know about it in the comments!
You may have noticed that I often write about self-improvement topics. I’m kind of a self-improvement junkie. I’ve read many self-help books, and I find psychology fascinating. (I’m currently reading a new book called The Craving Mind by Judson Brewer – you should check it out.)
Some folks take a cynical view of self-help books, and of their fellow humans. How many times have you heard phrases like “once a ______, always a ______”? When I encounter someone I haven’t seen in years, I sometimes fall into the trap of judging them based on things they said and did long ago without getting to know the person they are today. I’m working to correct this thought process, because I certainly wouldn’t want everyone judging me based on the way I behaved as a teenager or college student.
I have a confession to make: I am a crier. I cry very easily. Not when someone insults me or yells at me, but when I watch others experience great joy or pain. I cry at movies — even happy movies. I cried during Hidden Figures (and that movie is not supposed to be sad!) (by the way, if you still haven’t seen it, you should).
I’ve never teared up while, say, questioning a witness. I think in that kind of performance situation, the adrenaline, competitiveness, and focus on the task at hand probably interfere with any crying reflex. When I sit in court as an observer, though, and watch a defendant’s remorseful allocution or a victim’s recounting of the harm she’s suffered, I really have to fight to maintain my poker face. I’m an empathy crier. I can’t help it. Read more
Implicit bias is a tricky thing to root out. It’s a naturally occurring psychological phenomenon that helps us to navigate a complicated and ever-changing world. We all harbor biases and stereotypes based on our past experiences and socialization. Even young children exhibit implicit biases. Most of us are unaware of our biases because they operate at a subconscious level.
Implicit bias has been the subject of research for years, but lately, it has generated a great deal of attention from journalists, commentators, and the public, especially in relation to race. Fearing that the term “implicit bias” has taken on a particularly negative connotation in recent times, some experts have begun referring instead to “implicit associations” or “unconscious associations” in an effort to avoid defensive responses to the topic. This topic should not be as polarizing as it is. Getting beyond the defensiveness is so important because, left unchecked, our implicit biases can lead to dire consequences not only for the people to whom we are reacting, but to us, the ones who harbor the biases.
I am not a psychologist or sociologist and I have not read all of the extensive research on this topic. Based on my limited knowledge, however, here are a few key things to understand about implicit biases.