Dodgy Juries, (Un)Ethical Professors, MySpace vs. Facebook

Gavel
[Photo by Joe Gratz]

Here are some pointers to what I’ve been reading this week on other blogs and elsewhere.

As a former law student I was very interested to see this report on the accuracy, or rather inaccuracy of juries, on Psychology and Crime News. This US study compared the official jury decision with the unofficial opinion of the judge. There were some worrying findings. In 25% of cases the jury convicted the defendant, despite the judge thinking they were innocent. In 14% of cases where the jury acquitted the defendant, the judge thought they were guilty.

Scary stuff. It’s amazing really that with these sort of stats many societies still consider trial by jury the gold standard of justice. Of course the judge could be wrong – but I’d guess he is more accurate than a jury given that groups are often terrible at decision-making.

MindHacks asks why ethics Professors don’t appear to behave ethically. Good question – surely they should be even more ethical than the rest of us? Turns out they’re going around stealing chocolates and library books. So, not exactly Adolf-Hitler-unethical.

I’d like to know if they’re more likely to sleep with their students, plagiarise or bump off a colleague. Now those are real tests of unethical behaviour.

New ethnographic research has revealed that MySpace users tend to come from lower socioeconomic groups than those on Facebook. More interestingly, MySpace seems to have more ‘geeks, freaks, or queers’ than Facebook which is full of conventional high-achievers. As the study’s author points out this obviously doesn’t describe everyone, but it’s certainly an interesting trend (via Neurocritic).

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 29 June 2007

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