psyc305 week 7 discussion

In Week 7, we examine the advances in psychology including neuropsychology, the cognitive revolution, and the ethics that guide them.

Watch the Reading Your Mind video at https://youtu.be/8jc8URRxPIg

1. What ethical issues arise from this investigative practice? In your forum, include a discussion of the woman in India found guilty of a crime with little evidence except a brain scan. Could this method be used in the United States in the near future? Why or why not?

2. Discuss the ways in which the understanding of biology/genetics has affected and continues to affect the development of ethical laws and moral standards within the field of contemporary psychology. What are some of the controversies surrounding this understanding? Provide specific examples.

In your peer responses, please reflect on how your peer’s choices, examples, etc. are similar or different from your choices.

Minimum 300 words answer.

Classmate #1:

Hello Class,

In this week’s topic I find myself so conflicted about this subject. While I believe there could be some benefits that could help our society out from a judicial stand point, I still feel uncertain that this field of study would be miss used in some form or fashion. There are so many ethical issues I feel that can arise from this research especially in the world we live in with privacy becoming more and more an issue. While in the video there was a good point made with the statement about this could be another way to introduce evidence in judicial cases like when DNA is requested but I also feel it could also be crossing a line. What we are thinking in our heads is our only true form of privacy and when we start considering crossing that line I think we are entering dangerous territory. The situation with the woman from India is really hard to be ok with. As a juror I would have wanted see more evidence before I would have chosen to convict her. The science behind this seems sound but when you look at the big picture how do we know that there are no other factors that could have come into play. I don’t think this would ever be a thing in the US, while we are all about making the criminal justice system better there are just too many ways this could be abused and I don’t think people would allow this practice to be used especially with the privacy issue we are having in this country right now.

Biology and Genetic has had a big impacts on the judicial system and laws in this country in search of the true. Things like DNA analysis to cognitive reconstruction have played many roles in court cases over the years. While I don’t believe most case don’t solely rely on these things I believe they help build more evidence in the case. I love reality crime television show and DNA is one often the nail in the coffin of many cases but that only seem to be the case in random murders. If you are looking at a case where the defendant would have a reason to be in close proximity of the crime then that is where it could get muddy. Like OJ they had everything for a conviction but because he had reasons to be at the scene it was easy to create reasonable doubt. Well hope everyone is staying safe have a good week.

Classmate #2:

Greetings Professor Bagwell and Class,

Aditi Sharma was convicted based on fMRI data that was presented as “proof”. This was later overturned by India’s supreme court. There are several problems with this type of information being used in any setting, but especially one with implications the magnitude of a court proceeding offers. Edward Vul, an MIT student at the time, was one of the most outspoken adversaries of such studies. For him the problem lies in the statistical significance that was based on “cherry picking” data. The fMRI scan only has a resolution of about 50-400 thousand pixels, far less than would be needed to identify the estimated 86 billion neurons in the brain. This combined with the inherent fallibility of assigning a measurable number to an emotion or experience makes it impossible to prove, at the level of court standards, guilt. Another issue is the fact that the developer of the program refused to release the proprietary calculations use to determine “experiential knowledge”. Absent peer review processes, the calculations could be nothing more than “Voodoo Correlations”, as Vul aptly titled his journal post challenging the validity of such studies.

The ethical implications of conducting this kind of research stretch beyond the prevue of review boards. Historical studies like the Bobo doll experiment and the Milgram experiment have created an undisputed need to weigh the benefits of the experiment against the potential harm to participants. Generally, studies are meant to benefit the greater good, but there is no review board to determine if a study will be used beyond its intended purpose. Trait theory, for example, has been misused time and again to stereotype individuals. Intelligence studies have led to eugenics as recently as the 1960’s. Alcoholics and other “mentally ill” were sterilized based on these laws. It is up to peers, like Vul, to police the ethical bounds of purported statistical significance to protect society from the misuse of research in the name of science.

Classmate #3:

Hello Class and Professor,

1. What ethical issues arise from this investigative practice? In your forum, include a discussion of the woman in India found guilty of a crime with little evidence except for a brain scan. Could this method be used in the United States in the near future? Why or why not?

This week we watched the video about reading the mind. There are many ethical issues that could arise from this type of investigation practice. The biggest ethical issue is that they are not 100% sure that everything is correct as the man said in the video. Even if it was 100% correct, this form of investigation could really be an invasion of privacy. To not be able to keep any of our thoughts private is a scary thought.

Though I am a firm believer in the fact that if someone has committed a crime, justice should be brought to them. Officers should be able to use everything that is out there to help solve crimes. With that said, it must be done in an ethical way. Officers would need to follow the same protocol as they do with any other investigative practices. These brain scans would need to be treated much like lie detector tests because it is not a for sure science. However, it does give the investigators a good starting point if a person were to fail the test just as it does with lie detector tests.

I do believe this method could be used in the future of the United States though I am not sure it will be the near future. The reason being is it is a great tool for investigators. While it could be an invasion of privacy so is committing crimes for the victims of the crime.

As for the woman in India who was convicted basically off a brain scan I think that is unethical. Just as with lie detector test and circumstantial evidence there needs to be solid evidence. As previously mentioned, these brain scans can be a wonderful tool for investigators but they are just that a tool. Not a form of solid evidence to convict someone, at least not yet.

2. Discuss the ways in which the understanding of biology/genetics has affected and continues to affect the development of ethical laws and moral standards within the field of contemporary psychology. What are some of the controversies surrounding this understanding? Provide specific examples.

In today’s news, one of the biggest controversies is DNA. DNA has been around for many years but changes have come in the way we can analyze data. Many of us now participate in at-home DNA tests such as Ancestry, 23&Me, and Gedmatch to name a few. These companies especially Gedmatch have partnered with law enforcement. Law enforcement can gain access to the matches of their DNA samples. I know that Gedmatch is a leading partner in this. Ancestry and 23&me have not yet accepted the partnership and most likely will not.

Some argue that this way of analyzing DNA is morally and ethically wrong as it in an invasion of privacy. This type of investigation has cracked some very big cases such as the Golden State Killer and the Amber Tinsley case.

Minimum 200 words answer to each