Friday, September 16, 2005

Visualization of Evidence and Inference for Legal Settings

Visualization is a hot topic in scholarship about evidence and information in a large variety of settings (e.g., military, weather, traffic control). Visualization is also fast becoming a hot topic in the study of evidence and inference in legal settings.

It is time for a conference on the visualization of evidence and inference in and for legal settings such as trials, pretrial investigation, and prelitigation investigation. Yes? No?

Visualization is important for a great variety of purposes. It is important, for example, for effective effective persuasion (lawyers tend to call this "advocacy"). It is also important for the intelligibility of complex evidential argument (and little if any real-world evidential argument, or factual inference, is simple). Visualization also facilitates the ability of people to recall large quantities of evidence. Visualization may also be a good window into the workings of the mind.

N.B. Sightless people are capable of certain forms of visualization, no? A good question then is, "What, precisely, is (are) this (these) thing (things) called 'Visualization'?"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Willy Lomanhood (again)

I see that one law school is now recruiting applicants for the position of Assistant Associate Professor of Law. My gosh! This position is almost as good as the position of Chief Bottle Washer.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Witness Credibility: Humans and Other Animals Are Natural-Born Liars

David Livingstone Smith, Natural-Born Liars. Why do we lie, and why are we so good at it? Because it works Scientific American Mind (online) June 2005:
... Why do we lie so readily? The answer: because it works. The Homo sapiens who are best able to lie have an edge over their counterparts in a relentless struggle for the reproductive success that drives the engine of evolution. As humans, we must fit into a close-knit social system to succeed, yet our primary aim is still to look out for ourselves above all others. Lying helps. And lying to ourselves--a talent built into our brains--helps us accept our fraudulent behavior.

Passport to Success

If this bald truth makes any one of us feel uncomfortable, we can take some solace in knowing we are not the only species to exploit the lie. Plants and animals communicate with one another by sounds, ritualistic displays, colors, airborne chemicals and other methods, and biologists once naively assumed that the sole function of these communication systems was to transmit accurate information. But the more we have learned, the more obvious it has become that nonhuman species put a lot of effort into sending inaccurate messages.


... [But] our talent for dissembling dwarfs that of our nearest relatives by several orders of magnitude.