The Shape of Things to Come!

7 Mar

In the last iteration of the Law & Mind Sciences Seminar here at Harvard, the students did some fantastic interviews with different scholars in the legal and mind science fields. We’re hoping to do something similar in coming weeks, so I wanted to post a couple of their videos as a preview of what’s ahead!

In this first video, an HLS student conducts an in-person interview Professor Joshua Greene of the Harvard Psychology Department.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


More info about Dr. Greene and a remote interview with Tom Tyler after the jump…

Here are some more details the former Law & Mind students gave about interviewing Dr. Greene:


Joshua D. Greene is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He received his A.B. at Harvard University in 1997 where he was advised by Derek Parfit. He received his PhD in Philosophy at Princeton University in 2002 having written a dissertation on the foundation of ethics advised by David Lewis and Gilbert Harman. From 2002 to 2006, when he began at Harvard, he studied as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton in the Neuroscience of Cognitive Control Laboratory under Jonathan Cohen. He is currently the Director of the Moral Cognition Lab.

Table of contents:

  • 00:00 — Logo-Title Frame
  • 00:23 — Introduction
  • 00:54 — How did your professional interests develop?
  • 04:58 — What are the questions that interest you?
  • 06:07 — What research projects are you currently working on?
  • 08:32 — Could you describe the original experiment that supported a dual-process view of moral judgment?
  • 13:13 — Has further research supported the dual-process view of moral judgment?
  • 16:43 — Could you explain how this, or any, psychological understanding could bear on normative questions of law and policy?
  • 24:39 — Could you provide an example of a situation where we should not rely on “blunt intuition?”
  • 30:42 — Can you see other places where psychological research illuminates normative questions of law or policy?
  • 37:40 — Do any of our moral judgments represent an objective moral reality (or moral facts)?
  • 44:38 — Could you provide an example of a “moral objectivist” solution that you find unpersuasive?
  • 49:33 — What is the problem of “free will” and what is its relevance for legal responsibility and punishment?
  • 56:26 — How will this emerging scientific understanding of the human animal affect law and moral philosophy?

This second video is a remote interview with Tom Tyler, a contributor to the original law and mind sciences blog, The Situationist:

Vodpod videos no longer available.


More details about Dr. Tyler from the former Law & Mind students are:


Professor Tyler is the University Professor of Psychology and Chair of Psychology at NYU. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Columbia in 1973, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from UCLA in 1974 and 1978. At NYU, he heads the Tyler Lab, where he and his students research the dynamics of authority and motivations within groups, organizations, and societies. Much of Prof. Tyler’s work centers on social justice and the psychology of procedural justice — the topics addressed in this interview.

Table of Contents:

  • 0:17 — Tell us a little about your general research interests.
  • 1:11 — Can you tell us about your research methods?
  • 2:23 — Can you tell us about your work on procedural justice?
  • 4:24 — What is your argument about an instrumentalist versus a values-based system as it applies to criminal law?
  • 7:21 — What do you see as the reasons behind America’s move away from rehabilitation in the prison context?
  • 9:43 — How do you see a values-based approach being implemented in the criminal justice system?
  • 11:19 — How does your research on instrumentalism apply to anti-terrorism efforts?
  • 13:18 — How does neuroimaging research complement your research findings?
  • 14:09 — How does a values-based approach account for differences in values among a population?
  • 18:33 — Is an over-reliance on instrumentalism a distinctly American phenomenon, or is it more universal?
  • 19:04 — Does the relevance of your work extend beyond the context of criminal law?
  • 20:34 — Do you have any recommendations to lawyers based on the research you’ve done?
  • 22:29 — How do you see the relationship between law and psychology developing in the future?

We look forward to following in these footsteps and hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for the fruits of our labor very soon!


One Response to “The Shape of Things to Come!”

  1. Ron Brown August 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi there,
    I actually named my blog after something Josh Greene said in a talk. I was trying to think of a name for a blog I was working on developing that would focus on politics and values, when I saw his description of The Trolley Problem. I just loved the way the words sounded when he said “regardless of which scenario it is, the outcomes are the same – it’s 5 for 1 death-by-trolley. I pretty much knew within seconds that my week or two’s efforts of name-storming was over. The blog would be called “Death By Trolley”. And it is.

    I came across your blog while looking to see if others had written about something that I had written about yesterday, which is that political/social activists may be at heightened risk for some mental health conditions. Feel free to take a look:

    I’ve bookmarked your blog. As a politics buff and former psych and cognitive science undergrad and grad student and a just-about-graduated occupational therapist with an interest in mental health and cognitive neurology, this blog seems to be up my alley.

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