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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Is the Justice System Overly Punitive?

By Oriel Feldman Hall and Peter Sokol-Hessner
Scientific American
Originally posted December 9, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

This finding sheds a new light on how people choose to rebalance the scales of justice. When we ourselves have been slighted, we appear to tend to our own needs rather than pursue punishment, but this changes when we make decisions on behalf of someone else: for bystanders or jurors, an eye-for-an-eye may be preferable. Our notion of justice seems to depend on where we stand. This leaves us with a challenge: there may be a gap between what we as victims want, and what third parties decide for us, calling into question our blind reliance on the putative impartiality of juries and judges.

The entire article is here.

Editorial note: When I read this part of the article, my thoughts went to the difference between the patient experiencing an injustice versus the therapist hearing about an injustice.  The "gap" between what the patient wants and what the psychologist believes is correct may be a bias that leads to problematic behaviors, such as intrusive advocacy.