Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
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Corruption dominates Latin American political discourse as technology forces greater transparency

Corruption dominates Latin American political discourse as technology forces greater transparency | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

As technology makes shadowy financial transactions difficult to hide, corruption — which has helped shape Latin America’s political landscape since colonial times — increasingly dominates the political discourse.

In the midst of their worst recession in a century, most Brazilians still identify corruption as the main challenge facing the country — and favor punishing the guilty even if it slows the recovery, polls show.

Their anger over accusations that have embroiled much of the local political class culminated Sunday evening in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff by the lower house of Congress. She is accused of breaking fiscal laws in her handling of the budget.

“There is a huge groundswell in the Americas, especially with what is happening in Brazil,” said Bruce Zagaris, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in international criminal law. “It’s definitely not a good time [for corrupt politicians]. It’s a risky time because people are fed up and they’re looking.”

Transparency advocates and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — which this month orchestrated the Panama Papers leaks that unmasked the offshore holdings of numerous world leaders, including Argentine President Mauricio Macri — have helped drive the issue to the center of conversation, Mr. Zagaris said.

Among the public, such sensational revelations foster the impression that graft is at an all-time high — even though there is no practical way of measuring it, said Marta da Silva Arretche, a political scientist at the University of Sao Paulo.

“We don’t know if there is more or less [corruption]; we do know that people today are much more informed than before,” Ms. Arretche said. “And I have no doubt that the public thinks it’s unacceptable.”

In comparative rankings such as Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, many Latin American countries continue to perform poorly: Out of a possible 100 points indicating a “very clean” government, Brazil scored 38 in the 2015 survey, Peru logged 36 and Argentina rated a 32. Denmark led, with 91, and the United States registered a 76.

Kevin Casas-Zamora, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, and Miguel Carter, director of the Demos think tank in Paraguay, argue in an analysis that there are “healthy roots” to the mounting popular anger over corruption scandals that have erupted from Mexico to Chile in recent years. The short-term spike in such outrages, they say, reflects a greater transparency in uncovering corruption and a plunging tolerance to the old graft-ridden ways.

“Amid the doom and gloom, we should acknowledge a large silver lining,” they wrote. “The mere fact that we are talking about these scandals is because — at least in some important ways — democracy and the rule of law are finally taking root in the continent.”


Via Jim Wesberry
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Scientists Decode Brain Signals Nearly At Speed Of Perception

Scientists Decode Brain Signals Nearly At Speed Of Perception | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Using electrodes implanted in the temporal lobes of awake patients, scientists have decoded brain signals at nearly the speed of perception.  Further, analysis of patients’ neural responses to two categories of visual stimuli – images of faces and houses – enabled the scientists to subsequently predict which images the patients were viewing, and when, with better than 95 percent accuracy.

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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, April 19, 2016 11:11 AM

Scientists use brain implants to decode brain signals at nearly the speed of perception and predict what objects patients are seeing with 95% accuracy.

Courtney Antilla's comment, April 29, 2016 12:02 AM
This is fascinating! And could be revolutionary in the field of psychology.
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The differences between the Catholic and Orthodox churches

The differences between the Catholic and Orthodox churches | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
To the Orthodox believer, Catholic theology seems excessively categorical and legalistic; to the Catholic mind, Orthodox thinking in its mystical flights can seem vague and ambivalent. In a few hours of set-piece discussion in Havana airport on February 12th, the pope and Patriarch will hardly be able to resolve these centuries-old differences. But at least they may understand each other a little better.
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VIDEO: Officer Cleared in Shooting from Pickup Truck Bed - Calibre Press

VIDEO: Officer Cleared in Shooting from Pickup Truck Bed - Calibre Press | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Loudon County grand jurors have spoken, clearing Lenoir City Police Department officer Tyrel Lorenz of four possible criminal charges stemming from the March 13 death of Joshua William Grubb, 30, of Clinton.

The incident remains a puzzler, the prosecutor said: How a 6-foot, 8-inch tall patrolman ended up in the bed of a small pickup as it sped off from a U.S. Highway 321 convenience store, and why the officer quickly opted to shoot the driver nine times through the back window, killing him.

Jurors in secret session Tuesday, after hearing a half-hour of testimony from Lorenz, visiting the shooting scene, viewing body camera footage and other videos, voted 13-0 on four occasions not to indict the officer, who was released from paid administrative leave and put back on the street Thursday.

Jurors considered indictments ranging from reckless homicide to voluntary manslaughter before deciding behind closed doors with no officials present not to indict.
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Patrick Nestor's comment, April 18, 2016 11:20 PM
That's a head-scratcher. What on earth was he doing to get into that situation?
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Bill to shed light on California’s gang database moves forward

Bill to shed light on California’s gang database moves forward | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Legislation that would open California’s gang database to more public scrutiny has advanced in the state Assembly, despite significant opposition from law enforcement.
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Report: California traffic stops, arrests hit minorities harder

Report: California traffic stops, arrests hit minorities harder | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Black and Latino Californians are disproportionately likely to get pulled over and ultimately be arrested for driving on suspended licenses, according to a new report.
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Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 4:02 AM
im not sure what to think about this. If it is just bad luck, or if they are truly begin targeted. It would be sad in todays society for them to be targeted, make LEO's all over the united states look bad.
Rob Duke's comment, April 26, 2016 12:30 PM
Howard Greenwald, at USC, did the definitive study on this back in the early 2000's and determined that profiling wasn't the cause. Greenwald wasn't what I would call a police apologist, or even a supporter either, so my take was that the study was done in an impartial manner.
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No Warrant Required for Phone Location Records, Court Rules

No Warrant Required for Phone Location Records, Court Rules | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Federal agents can obtain cellphone records that reveal a caller's location without seeking a warrant, a federal appeals court ruled.
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Jordan Burns's comment, April 20, 2016 3:28 AM
This is definitely an interesting case.. Seems somewhat controversial but I would have to say that I think cell phone locations should not require a warrant. Just like the article said, it's more like the writing on the outside of the envelope and not the letter inside. The cellular location is not giving up any conversations or any of the devices contents, but simply showing where the phone is located, and I don't believe that should require a warrant.
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Jerry Brown: ‘I can clean up’ sentencing problems he created

Jerry Brown: ‘I can clean up’ sentencing problems he created | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Gov. Jerry Brown, condemning the tough sentencing law he signed as governor nearly four decades ago, declared Monday “the problems that I create; I can clean up.”
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Trial for man accused of killing troopers moved to Fairbanks

Trial for man accused of killing troopers moved to Fairbanks | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
KTVA Anchorage CBS 11 - First in Alaska. News, weather, sports, business and entertainment in High Definition.
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Colita Fiorenzi's comment, April 17, 2016 9:34 PM
I watched the video that stated pretty much everything that the article did. The troopers that lined up to watch his sentencing, makes me wonder how far he'll make it in prison. For me, it's hard to put a number on how much time someone should serve for taking another person's life. I would think that especially since he took TWO lives of public servants, his sentencing would be quite a bit of time, or possibly a death sentence. I guess what I mean is, I don't understand how they could give an 8 year sentence to evidence tampering when essentially he was an accessory to the murder of two state troopers. People's irresponsibility leads to truly horrific things.
Meaghan Tucker's comment, April 18, 2016 2:21 AM
He should get life for killing them and his father should get a ton of time too. you don't tamper with evidence no matter whom it was that did the crime.
Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 4:10 AM
Jazmin, i believe that is only referring to the evidence tampering charges. In Alaska, the minimum sentence anyone can receive for killing a first responder in 99 years.
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Death Row’s Race Problem

Death Row’s Race Problem | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Since 1976, when the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment following a short moratorium, 537 of the 1,434 executions in the U.S. have occurred in Texas. Harris County, home to greater Houston, has accounted for 126 of them—24% of Texas’ total. (The total for Travis County, home to more liberal Austin, is six.) Were Harris County a state, it would rank second, behind only Texas itself, in the number of executed offenders. Its prosecutors have been well-versed in managing capital cases and well-funded in guiding them to completion.
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2 firefighters shot while responding to call in Maryland

John Ulmschneider, 39, died after the shooting in Prince George's County on Friday night, fire officials said.
The firefighters were responding to a relative's call "expressing concern" about the occupant of the home, the county Police Department said in a statement.
As the firefighters tried to enter the home, the occupant shot them, police said. Specifics on the call were unclear, but authorities said it was medical-related.
Prince George's County police officers rushed to the scene and arrested the suspect.
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Ryan Conner's comment, April 16, 2016 11:44 PM
Wow, what a sad story to hear about. This definitely sounds like a chain of events that had the worst possible outcome. Here we have a family member calling for medical aid and it shows up as these firefighters trying to do the right thing. I can see how mistakes were made on both sides, from the firefighters not taking enough time to identify themselves and look around before making their entry to the residence. On the other hand we have the individual who shot through his door, thinking it was an intruder. Some would say why didn’t he warn them or try to make contact and scare them off, but this is not a situation where you can have those what if’s. I can see why no charges were filled and this must go as a true learning experience, so that in the future we could hope to avoid another tragic event such as this was.
max mckernan's comment, April 17, 2016 6:26 AM
This is definitely not an unheard of story its not uncommon for people police to show up to a residence where the people are scared and armed and wind up shooting at the police. However it is a bit different in this case because it was the fire department responding, but this is also not surprising because it really depends on what the medical condition they were responding to. A person with heave dementia could easily not understand that the people who are trying to break in are trying to help.
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Switzerland widens its enquiries into Malaysia’s 1MDB

Switzerland widens its enquiries into Malaysia’s 1MDB | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Swiss investigators say they have reason to suspect that instead of going to IPIC the sums benefited the two Emirati public officials it is investigating, as well as “a company related to the motion picture industry”. In early April the Wall Street Journal reported that investigators in two countries believe more than $150m originating from 1MDB found its way to Red Granite Pictures, a film-production company co-founded by the stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak. This firm subsequently financed “The Wolf of Wall Street”, a Hollywood film about a hedonistic crook, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Rob Duke's insight:
Oh, this is ironic.  The firm that financed the Wolf of Wall St. is now suspected of the shenanigans depicted in the movie....
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Trevor Phillips's documentary on Muslims was shocking - but not surprising

Trevor Phillips's documentary on Muslims was shocking - but not surprising | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
‘Our findings will shock many people,’ promised Trevor Phillips at the beginning of What British Muslims Really Think (Channel 4, Wednesday).

But the depressing thing is that I doubt they will, actually. I think the general British public have known for some time what Phillips’s documentary professed to find surprising: that large numbers of Muslims don’t want to integrate, that their views aren’t remotely enlightened, and that more than a few of them sympathise with terrorism. It’s only the establishment elite that has ever pretended otherwise.
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Fraud costs climb for online retailers

Fraud costs climb for online retailers | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Fraudulent transactions account for 1.47% of a retailer's revenue, a study finds.
Via Kenneth Carnesi,JD
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An Anchorage judge driven from the bench for being gay questions the depth of change

An Anchorage judge driven from the bench for being gay questions the depth of change | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Twenty-five years ago, protestors and a vindictive defense attorney drove Judge Victor Carlson from the Superior Court bench in Anchorage, and destroyed his career, because he is gay.

I went to talk to him recently to gauge how much our community has changed. Last year, the Anchorage Assembly passed an equal rights ordinance, which still stands, unchallenged by the Christian right opponents who turned back three previous ordinances in 1976, 1993 and 2012.
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Jordan Burns's comment, April 19, 2016 7:15 PM
Pretty amazing that they could send someone to secretly investigate Carlson with most likely very little evidence. I actually wrote a paper on gay marriage rights last year and the way that America has changed their rules is good to see. Unfortunately I don't think that changing laws against gay marriage will stop people from being prejudice for at least another generation or two as it continues to become more accepted throughout those years.
Rob Duke's comment, April 19, 2016 7:20 PM
Yeah, classic Moral Panic (see Stanley Cohen, 1972 for more).
Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 3:59 AM
i completely agree with his statement, "a lot less has changed than might appear on the surface." People just put up a good front.
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Dad charged in shooting that police say he blamed on 5-year-old

A Philadelphia man accidentally shot and killed his 4-year-old daughter, then tried to blame it on her 5-year-old sister, police and other sources said.
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And the father of the year award goes to.....
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Jordan Burns's comment, April 19, 2016 7:24 PM
Wow. Such a sad story. Definitely makes you wonder if he snapped or it was a genuine accident. Hard to believe he would call his fiance and then just flee after blaming his other daughter. Some crazy people in this world that's for sure! May 4th will be an interesting day to see how severe the punishments end up being.
Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 4:00 AM
Quite the father he is, pointing the finger at his won child, glad to see there is a man slaughter charge.
Courtney Antilla's comment, April 29, 2016 12:08 AM
At least me eventually came clean. That could not possibly a good home life for any of those children.
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Why you can't grow medical marijuana in some parts of LA

Why you can't grow medical marijuana in some parts of LA | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The cultivation of medical marijuana exists in a legal grey area and for the next 45 days it's illegal in unincorporated areas of LA county.
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Sheriff's office: Meeting with activists resulted in 'productive dialogue' on immigration program

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Friday that it's "not time" to make a decision on whether to continue the county's participation in a controversial federal program that trains local law enforcement officers to help federal agents screen for undocumented immigrants in the jails.
The statement came a day after Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, representatives of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and immigrant rights activists met to discuss the program, a meeting the sheriff's office said resulted in "productive dialogue."
Immigrant rights advocates have stepped up calls in recent weeks for the sheriff's office to end its participation in the 287(g) program, which last year led to the deportation of almost 170 individuals, according to the sheriff's office.
The sheriff's office's agreement with the federal government is up for renewal in June. Harris County commissioners in recent weeks have deferred to Hickman, who said earlier this week he would need a "very compelling reason" not to continue participating in 287(g).
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Microsoft Sues Justice Department Over Secret Customer Data Searches

Microsoft Sues Justice Department Over Secret Customer Data Searches | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, challenging the government’s legal authority to bar tech companies from telling customers when their data has been examined by federal agents.
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Why the police don’t care that thieves broke into your home: Susan Shelley

Something strange is going on with crime in Los Angeles.The Public Policy Institute of California says property crimes were up sharply in L.A. County last year, but arrests and bookings for property crimes fell 31 percent.Why?I&#x
Rob Duke's insight:
1. I doubt this is a new trend.  Ever since I've been in the biz, we've had solvability factors.  Very Simply: you spend more time on the crimes that can be solved.
2. Prop. 47 in California reduced many felonies to misdemeanors, including many thefts.  Cops just don't spend that much time on misdemeanors.  They can be more difficult to arrest (staleness require warrants to arrest, etc.).
3. Cops are surely feeling attacked and that can't but have affected morale.  Cops with good morale are more motivated and more efficient....I'm not arguing that this is right, but it's reality....
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Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 4:04 AM
I love to see your insight on these issues. I completely makes sense for officers to spend more time on solvable crimes than not.That is just common sense. However a thorough investigation does need to happen to make sure all evidence is collected to see if it easily solvable in my opinion.
Rob Duke's comment, April 26, 2016 12:27 PM
In California (I'm sure in other places too), they've turned over misdemeanors mostly to non-sworn CSO's on the street, non-sworn investigators for follow up. They also use Non-Investigative Reports that don't receive an initial investigation, but are processed by the crime analysis unit to look for common threads (maybe two cases will have a partial license plate that together produce a lead, which is then assigned to an investigator).
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Social workers blast DA Jackie Lacey for prosecuting colleagues

Social workers blast DA Jackie Lacey for prosecuting colleagues | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Dozens of county social workers protested downtown Tuesday, accusing District Attorney Jackie Lacey of criminalizing child welfare work by bringing child abuse charges against four of their colleagues.Two former county social workers and their
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, April 18, 2016 11:23 AM

This is how connections work and is it only note worthy when it is worked against and not for those who use to be in the connection so to spreak some how.

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Man Who Cops Say Fatally Shot Firefighter Released

Man Who Cops Say Fatally Shot Firefighter Released
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Colita Fiorenzi's curator insight, April 17, 2016 9:57 PM
They seem to think it may have been an accident. Thoughts?
Meaghan Tucker's comment, April 18, 2016 2:35 AM
Im not sure if they should both get time or not, seeing as how it doesn't really say if the one that called 911 had planned out the shooting with the other person. After reading this is does sound like the entire thing was planned though
Wyatt Duncan's comment, April 26, 2016 4:08 AM
I am astonished that they have released him. Whether or not it was planned, you can't just open fire on anyone. Fully uniformed and I'm sure showing up with flashing lights and sirens he had to of known who it was.
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Struggling to get by, Houston declares itself open for cannabusiness

This scrappy town of 2,000 that straddles 22 square miles along the Parks Highway has long been the only place in Southcentral Alaska where buying fireworks is legal.

Now Houston is welcoming the state’s nascent marijuana industry in hopes of drumming up some much-needed revenue for a city struggling to stay solvent.
Rob Duke's insight:
It will be an interesting "natural" experiment....
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Colita Fiorenzi's comment, April 17, 2016 9:53 PM
For a small town, and no police service, the state troopers have no problems setting up post there and catching all the speeders going to Anchorage. I mean, crazytown is only a few miles away (Wasilla) why not put the weed capital of Alaska on the outskirts of "If i lived here, I'd shoot myself". Nothing good comes out of Wasilla. If you're from Alaska, you already know it's true. I mean I don't hate Sarah Palin, but after her bout to fame, she made some pretty horrible choices. Additionally, Wasilla was the home of the show "Sledheads" which was basically Alaska's version of Jersey Shore. If Wasilla were an island, I would recommend the same thing I do for New York, give it a good push and hope that wherever it lands, is an improvement on the society that gets stuck dealing with them.
Colita Fiorenzi's curator insight, April 17, 2016 9:55 PM
Anyone looking to start up a cannabusiness? Move to Huston Alaska.
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Panama Papers Include One of U.S.'s Biggest Wartime Military Contractors

Panama Papers Include One of U.S.'s Biggest Wartime Military Contractors | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
So it wasn’t out of character when Balderas, addressing the bipartisan watchdog commission, went on a polite but persistent offensive. He began touting the benefits of employing American private security companies in foreign theaters of war. Using U.S.-owned private firms provided value and accountability, he testified, because they are “subject to a host of laws designed to enforce U.S. legal and policy considerations.” Foreign firms posed a risk because they could “avoid paying U.S. taxes, avoid U.S. criminal investigations and jurisdiction, and avoid having to appear before Congress.”

Four months after that hearing, the State Department awarded Triple Canopy a contract worth nearly a billion dollars to protect U.S. diplomats traveling in Iraq.
Rob Duke's insight:
White Collar Crime and maybe some Governmental Crime: Even before making the arguments for using American companies that would pay taxes, Triple Canopy had already acquired the offshore shell corporations that are now under scrutiny as part of the Panama Papers leak.
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max mckernan's comment, April 17, 2016 6:51 AM
This is diffidently an interesting read, I do agree with the sentiment towards the end about them becoming mercenaries. white this is one of those interesting articles that shows apparent issues with international law as well as white collar crime. I think that yes military contractors are vital to certain aspects of the national security, but i believe that that they need to be held 110% accountable for everything that they do
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Is Teaching Kids Empathy Just as Important as Teaching Them Math? 

Is Teaching Kids Empathy Just as Important as Teaching Them Math?  | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A conversation with Joan Cole Duffell on social-emotional development.

 

Let’s use empathy as an example. How do you teach kids that skill?

To really help children acquire empathy, we start with the very building blocks of empathy. One of the first things people need to learn is how to decode facial expression in other people. That’s not empathy, but it’s one of the important steps toward it.

 

So let’s say in kindergarten, the teacher has a big lesson card, and on the front of that card is a picture of a child’s face at their age level, and on the back is everything the teacher needs to conduct that lesson

 

. So the teacher is holding up the picture in front of the kids and following the lesson on the back of that card. And the kids are looking at this child’s facial expression and the lesson is for them to guess how that child might be feeling by looking at their expression. And it’s very specific because if the kids say, “Well, Jamal looks really happy,” the teacher would say: “How can you tell? What is it about Jamal’s face that tells you he’s looking happy?” There’s a lot of learning around what a smile looks like.


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Katrina Bishop's comment, April 16, 2016 10:59 PM
I think empathy is a very important aspect of life, especially as technology becomes such a huge part of everyday life. Technology acts as a barrier, in a way, between people. Without empathy someone can pretend the person on the other side does not feel anything. I read about a study recently that discussed how people with low empathy were more likely to be involved in cyberbullying. So I think we need to make sure we encourage children to learn empathy. I am not sure showing a picture for a lesson is the best way to go, however. That is only a picture, after all, but allowing children ample time to communicate with each other and see reactions in person is a good step toward a child developing empathy.
Amanda Watkins's comment, April 16, 2016 11:15 PM
Empathy is a very important skill to have to be a successful adult. It appears more and more that society is desensitized to each others feelings and emotions. I also feel society has a harder time sympathizing with peoples situations or handling peer to peer conflict. I have noticed even in my workplace setting that it seems extremely difficult for people to agree to disagree and conflict does not get resolved. I think Katrina (comment above) made a good comment about technology. If you look through comments on social media posts; you will see that people say the most disgusting things about each other and situations. The individuals who do not empathize with others situations and are completely rude. I think teaching children empathy and gaining those skills at a young age is extremely important to our societies future and future sense of community.
Emily Alvey's comment, April 17, 2016 10:50 PM
The beginning of this article was a bit misleading. It started off talking about teaching children feelings. I don't think that kids need to be taught feelings. We live in a society where everyone is aware of their own feelings. Their feelings are most important. As I read further, I saw more and more that it was teaching people that others have feelings too, which of course is empathy. I strongly believe that our society could stand to increase our skills surrounding empathy, and teach people to stop focusing so much on their own feelings. We now live in a society of whiners. We walk on egg shells because everything we say has a potential of offending someone else. Everyone is offended about something. Teaching respect of others and an awareness of others feelings and points of view would be extremely important, because currently, no one's point of view is as important as their own.