News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

CLBB Faculty Members on Psychology and Juvenile Justice

CLBB Faculty Members Robert Kinscherff and Gina Vincent contributed to the new American Psychological Association Handbook of Psychology and Juvenile Justice. The handbook “consolidates and advances the knowledge about the legal, scientific, and applied foundations of the juvenile justice system”, and includes sections on relevant law, human development, risk factors for and patterns of offending, forensic assessment, interventions, training, and ethics. Dr. Kinscherff wrote a chapter entitled, “Distinguishing and Assessing Treatment Needs and Amenability to Rehabilitation”, and co-authored a chapter around ethical issues in psychology and juvenile justice with Gerald P. Koocher. Dr. Vincent co-authored the chapter entitled, “Juvenile Psychopathy: Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses in Legal Proceedings”.

Order the APA Handbook of Psychology and Juvenile Justice today!

Psychology Is Not in Crisis

By Lisa Feldman Barrett | The New York Times | September 1, 2015

IS psychology in the midst of a research crisis?

An initiative called the Reproducibility Project at the University of Virginia recently reran 100 psychology experiments and found that over 60 percent of them failed to replicate — that is, their findings did not hold up the second time around. The results, published last week in Science, have generated alarm (and in some cases, confirmed suspicions) that the field of psychology is in poor shape.

But the failure to replicate is not a cause for alarm; in fact, it is a normal part of how science works.  Continue reading »

Slender Man is Watching

By Lisa Miller | New York Magazine | August 25, 2015

Payton had been called “Bella” since about the first grade. Morgan had been ­Bella’s best friend since fourth. Both girls loved cats and ­playing dress-up. Morgan was obsessed with Harry Potter; at least one time at lunch, she and Bella imagined that Voldemort was pursuing them through the cafeteria. Now in sixth grade, they talked on the telephone every night. Morgan’s favorite teacher was Jill Weidenbaum, for reading and writing, and on May 30, 2014, the Friday of Morgan’s 12th-­birthday sleepover, both girls hung around Ms. ­Weidenbaum’s classroom after school, helping her clean up.

There were three girls at the sleepover at Morgan’s house that night: Morgan and Bella and Morgan’s newer friend Anissa, who lived in the same housing complex as Morgan — Sunset Apartments, on Big Bend Road — and rode the school bus with her every day. Anissa and Bella knew each other, but Morgan was what they had in common: Each would have said that Morgan was her closest friend. Continue reading »

A Psychologist as Warden? Jail and Mental Illness Intersect in Chicago

By Timothy Williams | The New York Times | July 30, 2015

CHICAGO — Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, who runs the sprawling Cook County Jail here, has an indelible childhood memory of police officers pounding on the aluminum walls of the family’s double-wide trailer home in North Carolina, rifling through cupboards and drawers, and arresting her father on charges of selling marijuana.

Dr. Jones Tapia, then 8, had to call her mother home from work.

Over the next several years, other relatives, including two brothers, and a number of friends also spent time in jail. She says she might have ended up there, too.

Instead, she became fascinated by psychology and earned a doctorate. She began working at Cook County Jail in 2006, and this spring became its unlikely warden when she was promoted to executive director — one of the first clinical psychologists to run a jail, underscoring how much the country’s prisons have become holding centers for the mentally ill.  Continue reading »

Lisa Feldman Barrett receives Diener Award

Congratulations to CLBB Faculty and Northeastern University Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, who was recently selected by the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology (FPSP) and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) to receive the 2014 Carol and Ed Diener Award in Social Psychology. This award is designed to recognize a scholar (approximately 15-25 years from their first tenure-track appointment) whose work has added substantially to the body of knowledge to the social psychology field and/or brings together personality psychology and social psychology. Continue reading »