NSF Grant Awarded to Tess Neal: “Calibration in Court: Jurors’ Use of Scientific Information”

tess-neal-jury-asuTess Neal was awarded a collaborative NSF grant from the Law and Social Science Program with colleague Brian Bornstein at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The title of the project is, “Calibration in Court: Jurors’ Use of Scientific Information.” ASU’s portion of the collaborative grant is $131,178 and UNL’s portion is $141,109. The grant will be active from 9/1/2017 – 8/31/2019.

As information becomes increasingly accessible, people are processing more, and more complex, information than ever before. Often this information contains, or is based on, scientific research. The validity and reliability of various kinds of scientific information varies widely, and laypeople are poorly equipped to differentiate between weak and strong scientific information when making decisions—that is, they are not well calibrated in their use of scientific information. One situation in which laypeople frequently encounter scientific information is in jury trials. This project consists of two jury simulation studies that will examine jurors’ (as individuals) and juries’ (as deliberating groups) sensitivity to strong versus weak scientific information presented in court. The project will also investigate mock jurors’ use of scientific evidence depending on different ways that it is presented to them, individual differences among jurors (e.g., ability to process numbers and complex information, trust in science), and trial safeguards (e.g., jury instructions, deliberation). The research will address the effect of these factors on mock jurors’ comprehension of the scientific evidence, verdicts, perceptions of witnesses, and deliberation behavior. In the absence of jurors’ and juries’ abilities to base their decisions on a reasonable understanding of relevant scientific information, their ability to make well-informed decisions may be jeopardized, thereby raising the risk of unjust outcomes (e.g., false convictions in criminal cases).

The project’s two proposed jury simulation experiments use diverse participant samples (university students, community members recruited online, and community members recruited locally) to address the following aims: 1) identify individual difference factors that predict people’s ability to rely appropriately on scientific evidence; 2) investigate the effectiveness of a Fuzzy Trace Theory-inspired safeguard compared to traditional safeguards to enhance people’s ability to rely appropriately on scientific evidence; and 3) assess the role of scientific evidence in jury deliberation, especially based on evidence quality, individual differences, and safeguards. Individual differences include scientific reasoning abilities, cognitive processing styles, levels of numeracy, and attitudes toward science. This multidisciplinary, multi-method research will fill significant gaps in our understanding of when and how laypeople’s inferences are appropriately calibrated to the st rength of scientific information; whether a safeguard derived from decision-making theory can improve calibration; which individuals are better versus worse calibrated; and how various measures relevant to the processing of scientific information are related to one another. The research addresses fundamental questions about how humans reason with and make inferences and decisions based on the quality of relevant scientific data. The current project has broad and highly positive societal impact with the potential to improve the way courts use science to inform laypeople’s decisions.

Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad

duku-anokye-fulbrightDr. Anokye has won a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad, “Stories from the Other Side” for the third time. She, along with Charles St. Clair, will take Phoenix Unified High School District Teachers and ASU students to Ghana, W. A. to study culture, history and social justice June 23-July 22, 2018. The Fulbright grant provides all expenses – transportation, housing, and per diem for the month long study. Upon their return, participants will create new multicultural, multimedia curriculum based on their studies that will be disseminated to other teachers and administrators locally, nationally, and internationally culminating in a documentary that will chronicle their experiences.

NSF funds Bullyblocker

asu-bullyblockerThe proposal EAGER: BullyBlocker – Identifying Cyberbullying in Social Networking Sites (PI: Silva, Co-PI: Hall) has received funding from the National Science Foundation under the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program.
The goal of the project is to advance the understanding of how cyberbullying, in particular, and behavioral issues, more broadly, can be effectively identified on social networking sites.

The project integrates advances in computer sciences and key findings from psychological research on cyberbullying to (i) design and implement automated models for identifying cyberbullying on social networking platforms, and (ii) study usage patterns of automated tools based on these models and their utility for devising and testing new hypotheses about cyberbullying risk factors. You can learn more about the award following this link: NSF award website.

Scientist from Arizona State University Participates in Prestigious Leadership Training to Increase STEM Leaders of Color

sacnas logoThis week, a new generation of underrepresented minority STEM leaders are being trained to serve, strengthen, and unify communities at the local and national level. They are learning tools to lead institutional transformation and help build a critical mass of STEM professionals and leaders from underrepresented communities. Arizona State University is represented.

Dr. Erika Camacho ASU Professor
ASU New College associate professor Erika Camacho.

Erika Camacho, Associate Professor at Arizona State University, is participating as a part of the Mid-Career cohort at the 2017 Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute (LPSLI) led by Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), developed in partnership with the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The institute, held today through July 21 at the AAAS headquarters in Washington, DC, is an intensive course featuring small group exercises, leadership development planning, networking opportunities, and extensive community building among selected participants.

Speakers this week include Dr. Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, Carrie Billie, JD, (Navajo) President & CEO of American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and Dr. France A. Córdova, Director of the National Science Foundation.

Since 2009, the SACNAS SLI has trained a cohort of 30 PhD-level scientists each year, making it the largest cohort of emerging STEM leaders of color in the country. Alumni are now executive directors, program directors, assistant deans, department chairs, entrepreneurs, senior scientists in industry, and emerging science policy leaders.

Learn more about the SACNAS LPSLI: http://sacnas.org/events/leadership

View the entire 2017 LPSLI cohort: http://sacnas.org/lpsli-cohort/

View SACNAS Fact Sheet

Follow the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute on social media using: #LPSLI17

Researching Yerba Mate

Julia Sarreal, an Associate Professor of the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies at the West campus was ASU associate professor Julia Sarrealawarded the Helen Watson Buckner Fellow research grant this summer.  She has been busy working on her current research project “Yerba Mate, Guaraní Consumable, Tool of Empire, and Gaucho Lifeblood” at the John Carter Brown Library as a Helen Watson Buckner Memorial Fellow. The research stems from her book, The Guarani and Their Missions: A Socioeconomic History (Stanford University Press, 2014). Congratulations Julia and we look forward to hearing more about your research.

Big Data Paper Presented at International Conference (ICDE 2017)

big data paper asu west campusThe research paper “Fast and Scalable Distributed Set Similarity Joins for Big Data Analytics” co-authored by Prof. Yasin Silva (MNS), Chuitian Rong (previous MNS visiting scholar), and collaborators from the U. of California, San Diego and Renmin U. of China was accepted and presented at the 33rd IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE’17). ICDE is considered as one of the premier conferences in the area of Database Management Systems (the research track of ICDE’17 had an acceptance rate of 17.7% for full papers). The paper proposes a novel approach for partitioning big data sets to efficiency solve the set similarity join problem (identification of similar set-based records). Additional information about the project can be found at: http://www.public.asu.edu/~ynsilva/SimCloud/.

ASU West campus professors receive Mayo Clinic research award

Three ASU New College professors from the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences received an award from the Mayo Clinic to research the connections between obesity, vitamin D and serotonin levels and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Read more about them in their bios:asu mayo clinic award IBS

Dr. Jennifer Broatch is an assistant professor and her expertise include Statistical Methods for Educational Data – Focus Value Added Models.

Dr. Peter Jurutka is an associate professor and his research interests include cancer, alzheimer’s, and molecular endocrinology.

Dr. Todd Sandrin is a professor with research interests in molecular biology, and chemistry.

We congratulate Dr Broatch, Dr. Jurutka and Dr. Sandrin on receiving this research award.


It takes two to lie: unique signatures of deception in the way people adjust to each other’s head movement and speech

asu-research-duranTraditionally we search for signs of deception in the deceiver’s behavior. Using a novel approach for eliciting and detecting deception in naturalistic conversations, a new study finds that deception and conflict can be spotted from the speech and movement that both interlocutor share with each other. Deceiver and deceived become more coordinated, nodding more in unison and adopting a more similar speech rate than in truthful conversations. The paper reporting these findings – “Conversing with a devil’s advocate: Interpersonal coordination in deception and disagreement” – was recently published in Plos One.

The study
“From disguising one’s romantic interest in someone just met, or commenting on how much you like a friend’s unfortunate fashion choice, deception pervades everyday conversations and often goes undetected.” states Nicholas Duran – lead author of the study and assistant professor at Arizona State University. Most studies focus on whether you can detect lies in the deceiver’s behavior. “We were more interested in the social life of deception.” explains Riccardo Fusaroli – co-author and associate professor in Cognitive Science at the Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus University – “As people lie within conversation, what does that do to the ongoing patterns of social coordination? People regularly adjust to each other’s movement and speech. Does deception break this patterns? Or more interesting, do deceivers hijack the coordination process to be more effective in their lies?”.

The researchers used a novel “devil’s advocate” paradigm. Participants were brought together to discuss their opinions on controversial topics, like abortion, gay marriage, and drug legalization. Then, in secret, one of the participants was instructed to argue for an opinion opposite to what they really thought. Sometimes their partner also shared this deceptive opinion (where they agreed), and other times they did not (where they disagreed). “We focused on “micro-behaviors”: the moment-by-moment subtle fluctuations in head movement and speech that are measured on the scale of tens of milliseconds” reports Nicholas Duran “We are rarely aware of how our behaviors change and adapt to our interlocutors, often at quite fast rates, but previous research has shown how important micro-behaviors are for social interactions. We rely on them to implicitly judge how much we like each other, to diffuse conflict, and to establish and maintain a wide range of social relations”.

The results show conversations involving deception display a higher degree of interpersonal coordination: people tend to nod and move their heads more in unison, and their speech rate is more coordinated than in truthful conversations. “Usually coordination is taken to be a sign of a well functioning truthful and comfortable social interaction.” elaborates Riccardo Fusaroli “ Here we show that coordination is more complex than that. We might use it strategically to achieve deception, to diffuse a potentially conflictual situation and even to escalate it”.

New insights
The “Conversing with a devil’s advocate” study opens a new window on deceptive and conflictual social interactions and the way we navigate and implicitly negotiate them. It suggests that the deceiver is only a partial entry into the complex social phenomenon of deception, since their behaviors resonate and tightly integrate with those being deceived.

To read the paper:
Duran ND, Fusaroli R (2017) Conversing with a devil’s advocate: Interpersonal coordination in deception and disagreement. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178140. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178140

Transborder Communities Individual Research Grant

Alejandra Elenes ASU West professorDr. C. Alejandra Elenes, Associate Professor in the School of Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies received a Program for Transborder Communities (PTC) seed individual grant from the School of Transborder Studies for her research on Chicana Intellectual Traditions: Transborder Women’s Narratives in Borderland Communities. This grant is part of her larger project Chicana Intellectual Traditions, which seeks to document via ethnographic research the experiences of Chicanas in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. An important component of this project is tracing genealogies of the formation of Chicana feminist thought. The grant will cover travel expenses to examine the emergence of a Chicana feminist intellectual genealogy in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands in the archives of Jovita Gonzalez and Josefina Niggli located in Texas. Specifically, the grant covers travel expenses to examine three important collections on Gonzalez: Texas A & ; M University at Corpus Christi has the largest collection in the E.E Mireles and Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Papers, The Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin holds the Jovita Gonzalez Mireles Manuscripts and Works ca 1925-1980, and the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos contains the manuscript of Gonzalez master’s thesis. Elenes will also visit the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio to examine their Niggli archives.


ASU West students get real-world experience on set

Students in ASU West campus’ IAP program take part in a workshop at Spectrum Video and Film

Spectrum Video and Film, a local video production company in Scottsdale, opened its doors to conduct a workshop with ASU’s West campus students this spring, providing invaluable hands-on experience for the students.

More than 20 students, all of them members of the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance program offered at New College, toured the facility and received lessons on proper lighting, sound capture and editing, shot framing and selection, and how to use advanced video production equipment like dolly tracks.

“I’m sure the students learned something, especially doing the hands-on work with the dolly. Knowing how to dolly while simultaneously tilting, panning, and keeping the subjects in frame; showed that it’s harder than it seems,” says Spectrum Video and Film President Ken Liljegrin.

“We also focused on how important audio is. Eight to ten years ago, we were in the ‘fix-it’ business, as all of these indie film makers would come in with the worst audio, and we’d have to try and fix it. In order to have high quality content, you have to have high quality audio.”

Spectrum Video and Film has grown from a wedding video studio in its early days, to a complete video production company servicing corporate communication videos, commercial advertising, amenity videos, and even some television shows today. Liljegrin uses workshops such as these to find the next great filmmakers and video producers to come out of ASU.

Taking advantage of ASU students’ ability to uniquely connect with audiences on social media, Liljegrin has Spectrum interns take the lead on many social media video projects for clients, an expanding portion of Spectrum’s current business.

“I have an eye for gifted people, I can see them right away,” he says. “Students in these workshops, and especially those that participate in internships with us, they conduct projects from beginning to end. They’ll execute their own vision, and ultimately, they’ll get out of it what they put into it.”

For more on the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Program, please click here.