law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a
bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by
experience—by experience.”-- Dickens in Oliver Twist
A 29-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit seeking
the removal of her name from the Georgia sex offender registry. Wendy
Whitaker was convicted 12 years ago of having oral sex with a classmate
who was three weeks shy of his 16th birthday. Whitaker had just turned
17, so the two--both high school sophomores at the time--were a little
more than a year apart in age. Ever since her conviction, Whitaker has
been forced to register as a sex offender and she is not permitted to
live within 1000 feet of designated gathering places for children.
problem here is that legislators don't do very well when they try to
base law on presumptions about psychic reality. The age of legal
consent is a blunt device for dealing with matters related to the
murky, ambivalent, intrapsychic world of sexuality. Although teenagers need protection from adults who would
exploit them, the reality is that they do make choices that may
technically run afoul of the law even though it isn't always clear that
anyone involved is either a victim or a perpetrator. The only victim
in the Whitaker case would appear to be Whitaker herself. She was
above the age of consent, but still a minor at the time that the state
decided she must pay for the rest of her life for having oral sex with
a boy nearly her own age.
There is no simple legislative solution that will guarantee a just outcome in every case like this one. Mark Draughan is wary of sex offender registries, in general. Saletanhas suggested that we should lower the age of sexual consent to reflect physiological reality. Perhaps
the problem is that legislators have handcuffed judges with mandatory
penalties that are grossly innappropriate to cases involving teen
I wonder if we might do better letting judges have more discretion to
grapple with the psychological realities of maturity and consent.
Here is a bit of follow-up to my previous post on manipulation of consumer memories. I ran across a business paper on the psychology of waiting in lines (queues). The author discusses line design and management. He points out that a customer's memory of waiting in line is more important than the customer's actual experience of waiting in line.
9 Memory Of The Event Is More Important Than The Experience
Which is more important: the experience during an event or the later recollection of that experience? In the abstract, the question would seem difficult to answer, but consider that your future behavior will be controlled by your memories. Memory is by far the more important aspect of the waiting line experience, one reason the ending experience is so much more important than the beginning or middle.
I don't think this is a bad thing, but I'm envisioning the next step--a paper brazenly titled: Increasing Brand Loyalty by Creating False Memories.
While riding the El to my office one morning earlier in the week, I noticed an advertisement that included a series of anagrams. I thought it a clever way to get riders to spend more time looking at the ad, but I wondered if there might be more to it than that. I did a little checking and, sure enough, there is.
In a 2006 study published in Applied Cognitive Psycholgy, researchers found that anagrams can be employed to increase both brand recognition and brand preference:
Imagine someone shopping for bottled water for the first time. What factors govern whether this consumer buys Brand X over Brand Y, in the absence of prior experience with either? In this paper, we examine the way in which other prior experiences might influenceour shopper’s preference for one brand over the other. To do this, we examine decisions about brand recognition and preference in the context of the revelation effect—the observation that solving a simple puzzle in the context of a memory judgment increases recognition claims. Applying the revelation effect to a consumer behaviour context is of practical importance and advances our understanding of the phenomenon in question by contributing to theory and application...
Unscrambling an anagram prior to making a recognition judgement about that target word or an unrelated word increases one’s claims of having seen the target word before (the revelation effect). We examined whether a revelation effect would occur with brand name recognition and preference. When participants had to solve an anagram prior to seeing a target brand, they were more likely to claim to have seen the brand before (Experiment 1), to have known the brand in high school (Experiment 2), and to give higher preference ratings for the brand (Experiments 1 and 2). These results demonstrate that the revelation effect can be applied to brand names and preference judgements. We discuss our findings in terms of discrepancy-attribution, whereby surprising fluency is misattributed to both past experience and preference.Read the rest