All About Punishment

An eye for an eye is one of the strongest human instincts, but reciprocating harm is not always the best course of action. Punishment sometimes works to condition people not to repeat misdeeds, and threats of negative repercussions can act as disincentives, but our ability to rise above our base instinct for revenge and judge each situation objectively and with an eye toward rehabilitation is one of the highest achievements of humanity and of civilization.

Recent posts on Punishment

Who Will Guard the Guardians?

If twisting a magic ring could make you invisible and you could get away with anything, would you twist it?

Empathic Limits in Action: Script for Leaving the Playground

Limits give children essential practice in shifting gears between what they want, and something they want more--which is to cooperate and contribute.

My Child a Bully? Never! Well Maybe…

By Janet Hicks Ph.D. on August 28, 2017 in Raising Parents
How can a parent help their child when he is bullying others? A few suggestions to get to the heart of the problem.

Crime and Punishment (and Twitter)

Scientists are exploring what social media can reveal about patterns of wrongdoing.

Trump's So-Called Victory

By Judith Eve Lipton M.D. on August 09, 2017 in Peace and War
Why might Russia and the Alt-Right join forces to support Trump? Maybe it was revenge for destroying the USSR, a gamble. Now nuclear war threatens both Empires.
Ellen Kirschman

I'm a Police Psychologist: What was I Doing at San Quentin?

By Ellen Kirschman Ph.D. on August 05, 2017 in Cop Doc
I work with cops. Spending a day with prisoners was a new experience.

How to Interrogate a Criminal Suspect, a la Dostoyevsky

Law enforcement officers assaulting violent criminals, as Donald Trump suggests they do, is exactly the opposite of the best interrogation techniques for convicting criminals.

The Psychology of Revenge (and Vengeful People)

By Peg Streep on July 19, 2017 in Tech Support
Is revenge really sweet? And what makes people vengeful? Does playing tit for tat make you feel better? Or not? The science of revenge.

The Power of Total Isolation: Why We Hate Being Alone

By Kevin Bennett on July 12, 2017 in Modern Minds
The pain of extreme isolation results from a conflict between evolved social mechanisms and impersonal modern environments containing built structures that cut us off from others.

Marijuana Legalization and Answers to Our "Drug Problems"

Drugs & drug policy evoke strong opinions. At stake are issues of personal freedom, public health, racial equality, public safety, costs, & large financial profits.

Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care

No other issues in mental health seem to ignite flames as great and persistent as do liberty and privacy.

Why Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

By Neel Burton M.D. on July 05, 2017 in Hide and Seek
The psychology and philosophy of forgiveness.

Behaviorism at Work

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 03, 2017 in How To Do Life
A “The Eminents” interview with Manuel Rodriguez

Black Hearts and Punishing Prostitutes

What do playing cards with red spades and black hearts have to do with your desire to punish people or to defend your political views?
wikimedia commons, Lizzy Borden

Graduate Student's Revenge (Corrections in Red)

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on June 27, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
On the inherently exasperating nature of relationships between graduate students and their advisors, and the even more exasperating nature of scientific publishing in psychology.
Praeger

Will This Angel of Death be Released?

With the approaching release of a suspected healthcare serial killer in Texas, old cases are being reexamined for possible new evidence against her.

Interviewing a Criminal: Who Is Interviewing Whom?

Criminals case others out for their own purposes in all sorts of situations.

The Full Moon Effect Takes Another Hit

Additional evidence that the full moon does not influence criminal behavior.

Live-streamed Violent Criminal Acts

Should we discourage live-streaming of violence by punishing online witnesses who do nothing? If not, do we become the bystanders?

The End of Guilt

Has shame taken over from guilt as the marker of American culture? Or was guilt never very important in the first place?

The Criminal's Use of Everyday Words

You may believe you understand what an offender is saying, but think again!

Why Shaming Doesn't Work

Many people consider shaming an acceptable way of changing behavior. Is shaming effective? Research reveals that shame is a complex emotion.

How the Police Create Monsters

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on May 29, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
State managers, including law enforcement authorities and politicians, define who and what is evil in our society.

The American Law Institute Revises the Model Penal Code

By Gregg D. Caruso Ph.D. on May 26, 2017 in Unjust Deserts
New revisions to the Model Penal Code continue the archaic dominance of "just deserts" and retributivism.

Why Are Some States "Tighter" Than Others?

State-level differences in making and enforcing rules can help us understand why illicit drug use is lower—and levels of cautiousness are higher—in the South than in the West.
Charles C. Thomas

The Impact of Mentors

A new collection of important papers reminds us of past work in criminal psychology, as well as the importance of mentors.

Sex Work and Higher Education: A Mix of Disparate Identities

Recent research on student sex workers shatters societal misconceptions about sex work as connected with pathology and criminality/trafficking.

Ignored

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 01, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short short story

Restoring Our Selves and Others After Personal Injustices

We all encounter personal injustices in our daily lives. What can we do to achieve a satisfying resolution, while maintaining a balanced perspective of the actions of others?
pixabay.com

Guilty, With an Explanation

The increasing use of neuroscience in behalf of criminal defendants with "defective" brains raises a perennial question: how do we define responsibility and free will?