Currently viewing the tag: "guilt"

“It’s safe to say you killed them . . . isn’t that right?” –Last Winter, We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about something you feel guilty about.

Art Prompt: Guilty conscience

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about your guilty conscience.

Photo Credit: Craig Sunter on Flickr

Congress! do the right thing


New findings from researchers at Boston College and Northwestern University show that the more cohesive a group appears — be it a corporation, political party, governmental entity, pro sports team or other organization — the more likely it is that people will hold its members less responsible for their own individual actions. The study, published in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science, sheds light on why people tend to address hostility toward large companies or other collectives, while still treating members of those groups as unique individuals…

Similarly, a strong brand image, generally considered to be a corporate or organizational asset, could contribute to consumers’ perception of single-mindedness, meaning the brand would be more likely to be held accountable for its employees’ or members’ actions. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene or story about how a group uses this tendency to get away with something illegal.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your feelings about corporate misbehavior.

Art Prompt: Group Thingk

Photo Credit: americans4financialreform on Flickr

Interrogation (255/365)


Confessions, when true, are an important tool in convicting criminals. But false confessions frequently play a major role in convicting innocent people. Experiments show that juries and potential witnesses are influenced by confessions even if they know they were coerced. Also in the lab, experienced polygraph examiners, fingerprint experts, and other experts, when informed of a confession, see what they expect to see — that is, evidence of guilt…

To back up these findings with real-life data, the psychologists thoroughly reviewed the trial records of 241 people exonerated by the Innocence Project since 1992. Of these, 59 — or 25 percent — involved false confessions, either by the defendant or an alleged accomplice. One-hundred eighty — or 75 percent — involved eyewitness mistakes. The analysis revealed that multiple errors turned up far more often in false confession cases than in eyewitness cases: 69 percent versus fewer than half. And two thirds of the time, the confession came first, followed by other errors, namely invalid forensic science and government informants.

Kassin believes the findings “greatly underestimate the problem” because of what never shows up in court: evidence of innocence. Told the suspect confessed, “alibi witnesses back out, thinking they’re mistaken,” police stop searching for the real culprit. “We show that confessions bring in other incriminating evidence that is false. What we don’t see is a tendency to suppress exculpatory evidence.”

The study throws doubt on a critical legal concept designed to safeguard the innocent: corroboration. Appeals courts uphold a conviction even if a false confession is discovered, as long as other evidence — say, forensics or other witness testimony — independently shows guilt. “What these findings suggest is that there may well be the appearance of corroboration,” says Kassin, “but it is false evidence that was corrupted by the confession — not independent at all.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about a coerced confession and its fallout.

Journaling Prompt: What would it take to get you to admit to something you didn’t do?

Art Prompt: Coercion

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about a coerced confession that was recanted and how the case ended up.

Photo Credit: andrewrennie on Flickr

Shafia safely handing over the 'pot' to the member


Why are some places more prone to bribery and corruption than others? Part of the answer seems to be the level of collective feeling in a society, according to research by Pankaj Aggarwal, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) professor of marketing in the Department of Management, and Nina Mazar, University of Toronto professor of marketing.

Aggarwal and Mazar discovered that people in more collectivist cultures — in which individuals see themselves as interdependent and as part of a larger society — are more likely to offer bribes than people from more individualistic cultures. Their work suggests that people in collectivist societies may feel less individually responsible for their actions, and therefore less guilty about offering a bribe…

Adjusted for wealth, the degree of collectivism in a country predicted just how likely a business person was to offer a bribe to a business partner.

It’s not that those business people saw bribes as acceptable — other surveys have shown that bribery is widely seen as morally repugnant across cultures… –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Create a situation in which your character must use bribery to achieve his or her goal.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever resorted to bribery? If not money, perhaps you’ve used chocolate? Hmmm?

Art Prompt: Bribery
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how customs surrounding bribery affect culture.

Photo Credit: imtfi on Flickr

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DIY Lightbox Practice-2  - VoxEfx


…was Shakespeare, so monumentally astute about human emotion, wrong to portray Lady Macbeth as unable to wash the metaphoric blood from her hands? The authors’ research suggests she might have had the wrong body part in the soapy water. In one experiment, participants were induced to tell a malicious lie either by email or voice mail. Afterwards, those who had lied “by mouth” evaluated a mouthwash more highly than a hand sanitizer, while those who transgressed “by hand” showed the opposite preference. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene showing what your character does to try to assuage the guilty after lying.

Journaling Prompt: How do you handle your guilt after you lie?

Art Prompt: Washing away guilt

Photo Credit: vox_efx on Flickr

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