Fourth Quarter Artwork

This quarter in art was my favorite of the year. I enjoyed being to choose each new project and experimented with paint and abstract art. I chose to spend the first half of the quarter working with flowers and watercolor and in the second half I tried to do more abstract art.

For the sketch at the Rodin museum I chose to draw a clump of daffodils near the gate. Daffodils are one of my favorite types of flowers and it was a challenge to draw them.

For the first four hour art project I chose to do two different watercolors of flowers. The first is a lotus floating in the water. In this piece I really enjoyed getting different gradients of pink on the petals and different tones of blue for the water. The second piece is a pink rose. Similarly to the first watercolor I enjoyed creating the different gradients. This piece was harder to do and contains more detail, especially on the petals.

For the second four hour art project I painted two different abstract portraits. The first is of Kat. The second is of Quinn. These two projects were my favorite of the quarter. I had a lot of fun experimenting with paint, learning to create texture with paint, and, for the second piece especially, blending colors.

For the last four hour art project I did two different pieces. The first is a collage that incorporated watercolor and the second is a watercolor painting. Like my watercolor flowers, my favorite part of the process was blending and mixing colors.

Q4 Artwork Portfolio

My goal in my artwork this quarter was to experiment with different types of painting and improve my painting skills overall. Every piece in my portfolio is a painting, except for the Rodin Museum sketch which was mandatory. With my first piece, I wanted to try to include texture. I have always seen paintings with bumpy textures and I always wondered how painters get their paintings to dry like that. It took me a couple tries, but I accomplished creating an abstract textured painting by using very thick paint and using various tools to create bumps and splatters. My inspiration for my second painting came from my obsession with Disney movies. I decided to paint a picture of Belle and the Beast from Beauty in the Beast because I wanted to make a piece that portrayed people that would be as realistic as I could get them. Since I am not very good at drawing, I decided to draw characters from an animated movie. I chose Beauty and the Beast because it is my favorite Disney movie. In this painting, I first drew Belle, Beast, the table, and the rose in the glass. I then tried to use a wide assortment of colors and blend them to make colors that were as close as possible to the picture I used as reference. My last painting was a poster for a play that I had written in my English class. In this piece, I experimented with calligraphy by writing the text in Times New Roman font. Then, I made the background layered streaks of greens, blues, grey, purple, and black.

Neuroscience and Crime, written By Kadija Koita

Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City back in 1993, where he implicated a method to help crime decrease. Throughout his campaign, he wanted voters to ultimately be in safer area, because rape had risen and so did murder and robbery. Giuliani made a theory which was called the “broken windows”. This was an analogy in which if a window was broken and went unfixed, then sooner or later the rest of the windows would be broken. Which connects to the fact about if small criminal acts slip through, then more and more crimes will take place. Therefore we should snip the problem in the bud. After winning the election and continuing to use this method, in 1996, the New York Times had plunged for the third straight year. By 2010, violent crimes in New York had plunged seventy-five percent.

There was many more reasoning behind the decrease of violence, besides a change in political tactics. One of the tomes on criminology, were that when the economy is on a rise, then the crime is low, but when the economy is suffering then the crime rates rise again. Another time was based on demographics, which pertained to young men, that read, “As the number of young men increases, so does crime.” This was not the case for New York, because even though the number of men increased, crime rates still continued to decline. Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, “If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.”  Smith continued to make advances on the real problem and the real solution. He had a good way of categorizing epidemics in a way that each crime could fit into each. It was a very interesting way in the way that it made seem that the way things were spread was because of a certain type of thing.

In another article, “Causes of Crime - Social and Economic factors” there were epidemics about how economy problems were involved with crime, and it was. The University of Chicago's Department of Sociology, which was formed in 1892, did a focus on city problems and how they could lead to criminal behavior.
There was an overwhelming decrease in popular cities such as New York City when the economy was doing good. This shows that when people are doing good in their pockets, they won`t want to still from other people`s pocket.

E1Q4 Proyecto - Dayanna, Taylor, Andora, Ailin

Malia, one of the main characters, was tired of being lonely and sad due to her most recent horrible breakup, and now she wants to get back into the dating world. She finds someone on Instagram and ends up going on a date with him. That's when things started going downhill. When she got there, he was the complete opposite of what she thought.....

Fourth Quarter Advanced Art

For my final quarter advanced art portfolio I created 4 different art pieces of my choosing. The very first creation was a sketch of my choosing from the location of the Rodin museum. I chose to draw the base and part of the statue of the thinker. I wanted to create a sketch that allowed me to draw objects with perspective. Choosing to draw the base of a statue allowed me to be able to draw a simple shape heavy base of a statue. I then decided to draw a fractal because I love fractals. The simplicity and symmetrical of such designs seem to go all the way into infinity making it seem quite complicated. In the center I decided to create a few designs to make the picture liven up. My next project is kind of a big one. I started by creating an abstract painting the eventually became a idea of what would happen, and what the world would look like when trump becomes president. I then added several different abstract pattern drawing that I enjoy creating. My final art piece of this year was a bent piece of metal. I found it at school and decided that I could make a statue out of metal. When I finally created I wanted to add a little color. I very cautiously and carefully held it near a flame and as the fire touch the metal, it created a brownish slightly burned color. Overall I felt good and very proud about my art projects I made this quarter as well as all I made this year.

Quarter 4 Blog Lukas Supovitz-Aznar

For my last blog of the year I started off with doing two drawings of a sculpture of a man. He is naked, so I just eye balled it at first, but did not really like the drawing so I gave it a second look. For the second look, I was more detailed in my drawing, and tried to capture the whole sculpture including all the details. For my 1st 4 hour drawing, I created a rainbow version of the sculpture. I really enjoyed my depiction of the drawing. It reminded me of a obscure, and abstract sculpture. For my second 4 hour art piece, I painted spongebob, using a lot of colors to try to draw him correctly. I did not really like my first attempt at drawing spongebob, So for my third 4 hour art piece I attempted to re-do the painting. For the last 4 hour art piece I got all of spongebob's details. From his tie, to his strips on his socks. I am very proud of what I created this year in art class, and feel like I have grown as a artist, as well as a art consumer. I am better 

quarter 4 art work

 In quarter four I tried to focus on reaching my full potential for this advanced art class and I think I did a pretty good job  of that by spending my time on these four hour projects and these little assignments trying to do my best. The pieces that I did didn’t have any real meaning they were just challenging for me so I wanted to attempt them.

Q4 Art Slideshow

    This quarter in art was mostly dedicated, at least for me, to practicing anatomy of human bodies and the such, as its something I'm notoriously bad at drawing. This was likely kicked off by the first week this quarter, where we visited the outside of the Rodin Museum, a place whose "art" is mostly carved statues and the suh, a testament to how the human boy can be represented visually using many different mediums of art. Of course, my medium was limited to paper, I neither have the time or the skill to actually carve out statues out of marble, but the sentiment was still there and would remain for the rest of the quarter. I attempted outlines of people, specked in the distance, as well as full on body shots with slight, mostly eccentric tweaks to the anatomy. 
     Results were mostly mixed. My skills as an artist have always shone best when sketching surreal landscapes or abstract ideas, and a dip into realism didn't serve me well. It was hard enough to get my pieces to look somewhat human(it turns out sketching outlines of silhouettes is extremely hard), and adding on clothes or hair proved to be neigh impossible for me to turn into something organic. Thus I dipped into that somewhat exaggerated art-style. My pieces, humans that is, often have Eastern Animation inspired hairstyle, really posh or impractical clothes(I particularly like drawing capes and scarves), and just a sense of mostly phantasmagorical wonder. 

Brain On The Stand, a piece by Sergei Mass

 It was an early afternoon in the Johnson household, Martin was cooking dinner for his family. "Mom and Dad this is what I learned in Cooking class in school today" "Wow Chicken Parmesan?" said his mother. "Isn't that so nice Stephen?" said his mother. She looks over and sees Stephen asleep in his chair. She noticed this first happening a few months ago when he passed out in family portraits. 
The next morning Kim, Martin's mother made an appointment for her husband with a sleep therapist. Instantly, he insisted that it was not needed and that he has had busy work days. After a few hours of arguing, the couple drove over to the doctor. They had him do sleep exercises while hooked up to a machine that looks at the flow of blood too and from the brain. Everything checks out, except that the amount of blood flowing back is a lot less consistant than the blood flowing to the brain. The sleep doctor thought nothing of this and let him go back home. Two nights past and he was feeling head pains, strong ones at that. He took Advil and tried to make the pain go away and shortly after, he had rages and fits of anger. In his office, he kicked a hole through his door when he lost his keys. He never told his wife and his child before it was too late.
About three weeks go by and that night has come, he gets up at about 11:30 at night and goes to his sons room and grabs his baseball bat, he beats his son to death. Instantly his wife wakes up, tears running everywhere and two whacks to the head and she's gone. He goes back to sleep and wakes up in the morning to see the bloody horror that he has done. it had taken him a few minutes to realize what he has done. He calls the cops and they come to see what he has done. Instantly he is put in cuffs and behind a metal cell door.
He mentions to his lawyer that he had head pains and had sleep problems and he told them to run something on his head. They put him through a MRI and they found a cancerous cyst off of his brain. His lawyer saw this as a time to be able to get him out of his charges. After two weeks in court, the cut his sentence from life in prison down to just over 18 months in prison due to his neurological disorder. 

From Man to Myth

“The top prospect coming out of High School is Jack Davidson. He has really been on a tear lately, in his Junior year nearly averaging 18 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds a game.” Said the sports announcer.

“Yeah he really has been carrying the load for this basketball team and we hope he can do the same thing tonight in the state championship game against the Buckeyes.” Said the other sports announcer. Jack has been playing basketball his whole life. Since he was 5 years old, he has always dreamt of going to the league, the NBA. He would often go to the park around the corner from his house and impersonate all of his favorite players in the NBA. He would pretend to be like Jack Bryant with his signature fadeaway shot or like the flashy Dwyane Wade when going to the basket. At a very young age, he was able to realize that just playing around wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He worked and worked everyday to get to where he wants to be. Guys in their 20’s playing basketball against Jack Davidson would ask where his agent was because he was so good.  And now, he is exactly where he wants to be right now. He is in the biggest lights of High School Basketball.

The Trustworthiness of Eyewitness Testimonies

Since the beginning of justice systems people have relied on on eyewitness testimonies to help clarify what really happened when a crime is committed, but they are severely flawed. Eyewitness testimony directly implicate a defendant, this more often than not, leads people to start to think that the person was guilty because they were seen at the scene of the crime, but eyewitness accounts often change overtime as the human brain process what they have actually bared witness to.

Usually when a person is in the type situation that is associated with crime, they respond to the situation in one of two ways. The first way would be mobilization, or fight or flight response. When this response is triggered the body gets ready to defend itself or run away from danger. It releases chemicals that stop some of a person's normal functions in order to provide the energy you need to protect yourself from the approaching danger. This makes the witness become focused on protecting themselves, and not what is going on around them, so when asked later to recount the event their memory would be slightly skewed, and many smaller details that could be critical in the conviction or release of a suspect could have missed their notice.

The other response that is triggered by extreme stress placed on a person when a crime was committed is immobility. This happens when a person becomes traumatised in a panicked dysfunctional state unable to move.  In very extreme situations where the witness life in sin danger this can also cause them to lose consciousness. The loss of consciousness or not being totally present in the moment can cause a person to not remember a crime clearly, so their brain would fill in the blanks with things that it feels fits the situation. This is especially bad because they can end up making up things that never transpired, or use the details overheard from the investigators to fill in the blanks.

Although there are a large number of factors that can reduce the accuracy of eyewitness accounts such as the witness being in duress or under extreme stress when the crime was committed, eyewitness statements can be very helpful when trying to figure out the exact sequence of events of a crime. This is usually done by collecting statements from a large pool of people who were in the area the time the crime was committed. If the persons questioned were not under stress and experiencing the two reactions to stress mentioned above then the investors on the case are able to get a clear picture of what happened.

Each statement that is given on a crime may include details that others may have missed or details that the witness brain has placed in the memory because that enabled the person to make more sense of the event. It is the investigator's job to navigate theses details and separate the facts from fiction, but when you have little to no physical evidence to compare the witness statements to it is hard not to just take everything accounted to you at face value, since there is nothing there to contest it.

How the environment effects criminal activity

Usually in neighborhoods where there is more green, meaning trees, grassy fields, lawns, flowers, and plants, people feel safer. For example, in a  2008 study of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, meaning urban and suburban areas, violent crimes in the city was at about 2,100, in comparison to in suburban areas at about 1,000. This shows that crime in urban areas is more prevalent than that of suburban areas. But why? It could simply be the reaction to seeing nature and serenity, and the pleasant smells and atmosphere that promotes a safer lifestyle and environment. This being in comparison to say an urban area, where there are factories, busy streets, odd smells, limited greenery, and noise. Also, the closeness of everyone and everything contributes sometimes to feelings of being trapped, especially in living communities, in comparison to how each suburban house is separate. In all, its is a common consensus that suburban areas lead to lower crime rates, however, what more is there to this?

Research studies over the years has questioned whether it’s due to one's genetic makeup of someone that causes them to be involved in criminal activity or if it is due to the environment in which an individual was raised in. It has been concluded that genes and one’s environment both play a significant role in one’s desire to participate in criminal activities. Various studies and lab experiments have led to this conclusion. In all, criminal behavior is defined by social and legal institutions, meaning science and biology do not play a role in defining what criminal activity is.

Regarding environment, however, this is not simply limited to the type of actually environment one is living in, meaning what the outside looks like, the more in depth environment, meaning the household and family environment can factor even more into how a child is influenced. Research has concluded it is the family environment that essentially factors in a child’s superactivity. With family risks or triggers for a bad environment being poverty, a child’s education, how the parent’s choose to raise their child, and how the family functions as a whole. Unsurprisingly, researchers discovered families who lack solid communication skills with one another and have weak bonds and connections throughout the family have been linked with children’s development of aggressive behavior, eventually leading to criminal behavior. A solid conclusion for a families turn out is with a family that lacks financially or mentally to properly raise their children and punish them for doing room are more likely to have an environment that influences the behavior and mindset of those who participate in criminal activity and delinquent behavior. In conclusion, one can understand that not just the overall environment, meaning the city, or suburban, or rural areas has an influence on how criminal activity is promoted, but the actual environment of how a child is raised is the larger factor in determining an individual's criminal mindset and behavior.


Lie Detecting

Lie detecting uses questioning techniques and examines physical functions in order to get the truth out of someone.  Most people know about lie detections through law enforcement tactics and a key tool for detectives.  Something I didn't know about lie detecting is that it is often wrong.  
The way lie detecting works is quite easy.  It's official name is a Polygraph.  When people lie their blood pressure often raises along with their heartbeat.  So when you are hooked up to a lie detector these are the factors that are being measured.  People know this and can manipulate their results on the lie detector test.  
Lie detectors have become more than just a tactic in detective work.  They have become an icon in TV and movies.  If you think about it, there have probably been multiple shows that you've watched that have involved or had a reference to a lie detector.  If you see a moving paper with 3 pens running along it you can probably already assume that it is a lie detector.  
Lie detectors can be useful for the right people.  The thing about lie detectors is that their way of measurement is so widely known that people can almost prepare for their tests.  Not everyone can pull it off which is good because those people will be easier to determine whether or not their lying.  
Lie detecting is somewhat a lost cause for now but the future could hold great things for it.  Brain scans of the suspects will be performed while their being questioned.  The suspects will also have to listen to words that relate to or are about the crime they are convicted of.  It is said that the results will be increased by a 90% accuracy level which will do great things for the world and will allow the right people to go to jail for their misdeeds.

Adolescents, Crime and Brain Development.-Maggie Clampet-Lundquist

Adolescents, Crime and Brain Development.

Ghani  is a friend of my mom’s. When he was fifteen years old he and another friend of his came from New York to Philadelphia to work with a drug gang. His friend and he were put inside of an abandoned house where they were locked in a room and sold drugs through a slit in the door, and they were brought food and water through the slit in the door. They were trapped, desperate, and fifteen years old and their brains weren’t thinking about the consequences of their actions, so when the next person came to the door they killed him so they could escape. Ghani and his friends were both tried as adults as many teenagers are even though that shouldn’t be the case. There is no doubt that what Ghani and his friend did is wrong, but should they have been tried as adults?

The rational region (frontal lobe) of a teen’s brain won’t be fully developed until the age of twenty-five. The frontal lobe contains a region called the prefrontal cortex which lets us organize our thoughts, anticipate consequences, plan, and control impulses. “The frontal lobe undergoes far more change during adolescence than at any other stage of life.” It is also the last part of the brain to develop, which means that even as they become fully capable in other areas, adolescents cannot reason as well as adults. Under development of rational thinking causes teens to rely on emotional parts of the brain, rather than the frontal lobe.”  A scientist who studies adolescent brains explains, “one of the things that teenagers seem to do is to respond more strongly with gut response than they do with evaluating the consequences of what they’re doing.” Ghani and his friend didn’t kill the man out of act of violence, they killed him based on emotion. They felt trapped. They were trapped! Unfortunately our legal system doesn’t recognize that that teenage are more likely to do mindless thing because they lack rational thinking.

"Adolescence, Brain Development and Legal Culpability." Juvenile Justice Center. N.p., Jan. 2004. Web. 7 June 2016.

Neurolaw of Lying

Some of the original lie detector test involved trying to use sweat and heart rates as a way to determine if someone is lying. The polygraph was the typical machine that is used to do lie detector test. While the polygraph may be know as typical and not reliable at times it it is the most accurate method of detecting lies that we have. There is a lot of belief that something happens in your brain when you lie that can be shown through graphs and exams. The way people get lie detectors verified is to take them to a court and put them to a test.

What are lies exactly? A lie is a made up state that someone attempts to pass off as the truth by withholding the truth itself. Most lies are made to either avoid telling someone the truth because they are afraid of how that person would react to the truth, or just to hide a dark secret. Of course there are other reasons people lie.

I personally believe that lie detectors are valuable and if the polygraph works now it has to be the best method of telling a lie. I do however believe that it is not perfect and engineers/scientist should keep designing better ones until one of them work. Other people of course believe that lie detectors don’t work and that everything said is a lie. Those are the same people that go on shows like Maury.

The science behind lying says that we when lying we first have to decide things like, how much trouble will we get in, is it worth it, and will we get away with it. We can’t lie more than our self worth. By that I mean we lie enough to maintain our image if we get caught. When tested studies show that people lie when it comes to money in-order to to increase their wealth. In society over 50% of adults lie every 10 minutes just because and almost 100% of children take that and begin their lying careers.

Lie detection, can neuroscience identify lies?

Since the beginning of criminology, police officers and detectives have been trying to come up with  methods of detecting lies, stories and fibs. .It wasn't until the early 1920’s polygraphs have been used as an interrogation tool with criminals. The US law enforcement and federal government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA have been using them. This test works in a easy way, when someone lies it makes your heart race. It makes you pant, it drives up your blood pressure and in some extreme cases it makes you drip sweat. A polygraph machine detect lies by looking for signs of these physiological changes. But to often there have been times where the these test don’t actually work. Scientist have been coming up with ways that enhance and improve the way these test work by using neuroscience.  

“Scientists believe that a lie is made up of two parts: a person must create the lie and also withhold the truth”

After 9/11 the American government has become highly interested in procuring a sure-fire method of spotting liars. The American military has a whole department, the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute the need for a better test came along. These proponents believe the future impact of neuroscience “will be inevitable, dramatic, and will fundamentally alter the way the law does business” In this case there’s always going to be people who agree with polygraph test and people who think it’s a whole bunch of crap. Using neuroscience, scientist have come up with ways to use Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to looks inside the brain instead of tracking outside measures of anxiety like changes in pulse, blood pressure or respiration. fMRI’s get the point straight across, you ask a question and if you lie the test shows it. Detection accuracy was claimed to be as high as 90% compared to a purported 70% for polygraphs making them more reliable and fast moving. There would be no need to use lawyers that would switch up your words and evidence. While some see this the best thing that could happen, and a bridge to a whole new world of lie detection and criminology others think this is just a waste of time.

Scientist believe the fMRI machines will only confuse results  “In theory, it takes more neural activity to lie than tell the truth because you have to construct a narrative, so the extent of neural activity can be relevant in determining whether you’re lying,” said Andrea Roth, an assistant professor at Berkeley Law.  In order to image an area where there is activity, a thought has to be made, and an image taken a couple of seconds afterward (because the oxygen conversion is not instantaneous). Stanford University’s Anthony Wagner decided to do a test where laboratory studies involve instruction to tell a low-stakes lie about an action they recently performed. However, in the real world, lies are self-generated, often high risk and emotionally charged, and lie detection may occur years after the event in question. This process must be repeated a couple of times to be able to filter out false positives. In the end there is no hard data to show that we can actually detect lies with great accuracy. We would all love it if neuroscience could distinguish between these true and false memories until then cops and detective will still to polygraph test.

fMRI’s are not a perfect science, and they have a long way to go before they can be perfect. I feel like with a good mixture between the test, lawyers and great evidence court cases will be easy to solve and won’t be hard to put people behind bars. There’s going to be a lot of work done and a lot of time put in before we can get anywhere to a point where test can really tell who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. We shouldn’t treat fMRI’s as if it’s the only thing that can and should be used in the court, we should seen more like another piece of evidence that could be icing on the cake to completely the case.

Brain Node 2
Brain Node 2

The Insanity Defense: Adowa Mohamed

The human brain is a marvelous thing with many different components that allow us to do the things we do. The many different parts of the brain are associated and linked to certain behaviors and allow us to perform the actions we perform in our day to day lives. In some cases there may be apart of one’s brain that may cause their senses to be off. The frontal lobe which is in control of one’s motor function, problem solving, memory, language, impulses, and social and sexual behaviors. When this part of the brain is tampered with or stuck by another force, detrimental effects that could lead to permanent damage could occur.

In one case a 40 year old school teacher claimed that his tumor was the cause of his sexual behavior. It was noticed that something was wrong with him and even had severe headaches. This tumor was the size of an egg that pressed against the right side of his frontal lobe. This was one of the claims as to why he would act the way he did and was said that the tumor was the cause. The tumor was said to give him urges where and that he was in no way aware of his urges. He was eventually convicted and the day before that he had walked into an emergency room with a headache and was suicidal. These signs all were said to lead back to his tumor and he had the tumor treated so that it had shrunk. The urges no longer existed but once the tumor grew back so did the urges. What was the true reason as to his behavior? He was

In another case a 19 year old teen was murdered by who is pretty much remembered as a psychopath. One night after a night out with her friend, once she separated from her friends she was expected to be home and never showed up. At this point her family decided to start looking for her as any other caring family would. In this case Travis originally lied about what he did and the truth eventually came out with evidence. Once interrogated again he said “It was a mistake” and then went on to basically say he does not want to be remembered as a bad person because he just wanted to do some good by actually burying her instead of throwing her in a dumpster. Psychopaths lack emotions for empathy and the awareness in what their actions might do to someone else. This was linked to the cerebral cortex, and was noticed to be the cause of why people would lack empathy, self control, and common moral rights.

Each region of the brain correlates to specific body functions and when a part of the brain is damaged or injured, that can cause effects on the brain that can alter one’s life. In these cases these changes in the brain led to personality disorders, making it difficult for someone to control certain behaviors and impulses. In our law system there are cases where people plead insanity but in reality is it actually one’s fault for their actions if the reason for their behavior is from neurological disability or damage?

MRI normal vs murderer
MRI normal vs murderer

Adolescents, Crime and Brain Development by Avery Monroe

All around the world, children who commit crimes are being tried, and often times they are being tried as if they were adults. There has been a very big debate in science and with the people convicting kids of crime on whether kids should really be so harshly punished for what that are doing. While the kids are doing things that are bad, should they be tried and charged they way they do when they are still developing and aren’t fully finished growing yet?
When people are growing and maturing, their brains are also growing and maturing. It doesn’t all happen at once which is a cause for younger people changing emotionally. Our brains continue to grow until we are fully grown. When our brains are growing like this, according to Laurence Steinberg, we can’t always be taken responsible for our actions. Steinberg also said that because these brains will be changing later on that trials with young people should be revisited once they are adults. In this article, written by Emily Kaiser, she talks about 6 facts about the crime with children. One of her facts is that when kids are in groups with their friends they make more risky decisions. In this section she talks about Steinberg's driving simulation that he did with kids. He would take one kid and have them do this driving game and then he told him that his friends were watching him and had them do the simulation again. What they saw was that he crashed more and did worse things when his friends were “watching”. They saw that this was because when you’re with your friends, a part of your brain is stimulated which is the same part of your brain that makes it seem like you are being rewarded. Especially at this age when reward is such a big thing to teens.
Another side of this is that even though the brain of these young people are still developing, if they are going to commit horrendous crimes they need to be tried. These kids know that the crimes that they are committing are illegal and wrong so why not be tried for what they are doing? By the age that kids are allowed to be going out and doing things on their own they should have learned all of this, and the changing of their brain shouldn’t have anything to do with it.
Elizabeth S. Scott from Columbia University along with some other professors, did a study about this in 2007. They wanted to find out how the brain of a child or young adult differed from that of an adult and what it had to do with the likeliness of being reckless and doing things that they shouldn't do. They got people from the ages of 10-25 and studied their brains while doing different activities in different moods and emotional states. They also looked at what the brain function was like under the pressure of peers around them. The study is not complete yet but it is in the process of being completed. Research like this is helping change the minds of people who believe that children should be so harshly punished for crimes they commit.  
From the studies that have been conducted and that are still being conducted, we can see that children are not 100% responsible for every action that they do when their brains are still developing. There are many kids who are in jail with life sentences. What will happen to these children? And how do we know if a child is really responsible or if it had something to do with their brain developing?

Cites used:

1. Kaiser, Emily. "6 Facts about Crime and the Adolescent Brain." Minnesota Public Radio News. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2016. <>.

2. "Criminal Justice and the Juvenile Brain." Columbia Law School. Columbia University, 10 July 2013. Web. <>.

Eyewitness Testimony

Let's say a truthful man was at the bank and he saw a robbery take place right in front of his eyes. Would you rely on that man for information about what they recall during that instance? I would expect this truthful man to tell the story as the way it happened and according to the article on Eyewitness by Hal Arkowitz, Scott O. Lilienfeld, jurors also heavily rely on information provided by eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony is a trusted source of information and has been that way for a long time. However, study has shown that eyewitness testimony might not actually be a reliable source of information. It’s apparently not a rare case that during these types of situations, people recall the wrong information. In 1984, a man named Kirk Bloodsworth was charged and sentenced to nine years in prison because the statements given by five eyewitnesses were very heavily weighted during the session. Years later, DNA testing proved him to be innocent.

Psychologists have found that when people recall memories, they’re alway changing the details of it. In the famous Lost in the Mall experiment, the subjects recalled information more detailed as time passed and 48% of what the subjects stated were false. It’s easy for our brains to implant memories that never occurred. Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist, worked endlessly to prove how memories could be so distorted and richly wrong. She’s experimented numerous times implanting memories and studying its results, she states that sharing these information to learn how to prevent memory implant is better than covering it up. It has been reported that “73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony.” Cases involving conviction of innocent people are 70% of the time rooted from eyewitness misidentification according to John Bohannon’s article on Science magazine. It is crucial that the justice system adjust and reconsider eyewitness testimony looking at these research and statistics.

There is the misconception about how the memory works and this truly creates our society to rely on eyewitness information causing many complications especially in our justice system. I think there needs to be more research and experiments completed to understand exactly how and why that occurs. As Loftus has stated, we need to work to protect ourselves from misleading preconceptions and uncover as much information about it as possible. Doing that will allow right judgement on cases like Kirk Bloodsworth.    


Insanity Defense

The insanity defense is an excuse defense used in criminal trials. It means that the defendant was not or could not be responsible for their actions either during the time of the crime or permanently. One of the first cases of pleading insanity was in Auburn, New York. William Freeman was wrongfully accused of committing a theft. When they found the right man he still implicated Freeman in the theft and so Freeman fled jail. He was convicted of theft and escape and at the age of 16 he was sentenced to five years of labor at the state prison. After continuously insisting upon his innocence he was beaten in the head with a piece of wood by a guard. This left him mentally impaired. Shortly after Freeman was released a farmer and his family were murdered. Freeman was able to get a lawyer who was willing to make a case for insanity because he believed the mental state of the defendant should be taken into account. The court found him guilty saying that he was perfectly sane. Freeman died in his cell and an autopsy showed definite brain deterioration so the insanity case actually should have been sufficient.

The first viewpoint is that the insanity defense does not hold water. It is extremely difficult to figure out whether or not someone should be held responsible for their actions. It was pretty clear in the case above because after the autopsy it was definitely shown that there was brain deterioration. But in modern day cases, especially because the insanity defense is more widely known, it is hard to tell whether the claim should excuse the crime. For example, there have been cases of pedophilic behavior being the side effect of a brain tumor. Is that person then responsible for their actions or was it solely the tumor? There is significant neuroscience to back up the fact that the mental stability of the defendant often can remove a level of responsibility. There is a part in the brain called the orbiofrontal cortex which controls things like reasoning, impulse control, social integration, morals, etc. So when that area of the brain is damaged the result can be sociopathic behavior. So the science does support the insanity defense.

On the other hand, the science isn’t always perfect and there are still a lot of unknowns. In the case of a man who had a brain tumor and started watching child pornography when he was at home, the question was raised as to how much he could control his impulses. After all, he wasn’t watching it at work. Also, he didn’t tell anyone which raised further questions; maybe this is something he had already felt and the tumor brought it out. It becomes very subjective. The other societal issue is, even though it may have been out of their control at the time the damage was still done. The man supported the child porn industry. So what is the best way to handle an insanity defense? Should it take away the responsibility and punishment?

Lie Detection

The use of fMRIs in a court of law as evidence, replacing the polygraph machine. They would be used to “prove” if a defendant is lying or telling the truth. Though scientists may understand the advanced technology of an fMRI, jurors certainly don’t, and the major worry is that the science will completely replace the law. With jurors basing their decisions based entirely off of the science, when it can be easily manipulated.

Polygraph testimony should excluded from court cases because it is unreliable, the technology is no better than the polygraph machine; it is one more subjective piece of information that informs decision making. Neuroscientists are worried about over-reliance on this technology, when you’re anxious there is all sorts of brain activity from the situation you are in. If you are innocent and you're being asked about the thing you're suspected of, you're going to be just as anxious as you are if you’re guilty of it.

Law is not going to disappear because of neuroscience. Getting a better handle on what brain machinery causes certain behaviors will change the criminal justice system, but it will not disappear. Neuroscience evidence of mental state may ultimately be admitted in trials, but it will not restrict the roles of judges and juries to reading brain scans.

When imaging is used to demonstrate damage to a victim's nervous system, a judge can expect that most evidence will be based on conventional clinical procedures. In cases involving victims, conventional CT scanning has dominated as the preferred diagnostic method. Less frequently, conventional X-rays, diagnostic MRI scans, electroencephalography and SPECT scanning of brain blood perfusion are used

The real question is how can neuroscientists present fMRI evidence in a court of law accurately and clearly enough that it can’t be interpreted in any other way. It requires a deeper understand of the neurology, one we don’t necessarily have.