The first practitioner-based UQ Forensic Reasoning Workshop was held at The University of Queensland on 25-26 March. We welcomed Bruce Comber from The Australian Federal Police, Duncan McCarthy from the Queensland Police Service, Sophia Arulappu from the Victoria Police, Cameron Forsyth from New South Wales Police, and Gary Edmond from UNSW Law. Me, Jason Tangen, Rachel Searston, and Ruben Laukkonen from the Expertise & Evidence Lab presented our latest research, and we spent two days devising future experiments on expertise, discussing various training and recruitment practices across the states, and developing a contemporary model of expert testimony. Click for more.
I spent a few days with my good friend Will Harrison in Boston, Massachusetts, and presented to Peter Bex’s lab at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School. I also presented to Jeremy Wolfe and his Visual Attention Group at Harvard Medical School. Jeremy Wolfe is Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Click for more.
I presented at the 65th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Washington, DC. The theme of the conference was “Founded on observation and experience, improved by education and research.” I had meetings with Barry Scheck (co-founder Innocence Project), Michael Risinger (Professor of Law), and William Thompson (Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society and Psychology & Social Behavior and Law). My talk, “Evidence for expertise in fingerprint identification and the ramifications for the future study of forensic expertise,” was in the Criminalistics Stream, Fingerprint Identification and Analysis Session. [PDF] [Slides]
I’ve just finished a three month visit to the University of California, Irvine, as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar. I was invited by Bill Thompson and also spent time chatting with Simon Cole and Elizabeth Loftus who form part of the Center for Psychology and Law. Bill and I are working on surveying the various approaches to the expression of forensic science conclusions, considering the epistemological and legal issues, and evaluating the costs and benefits of each approach. Thank you to everyone who made my visit a fun and fruitful one! Click for more.
I attended the 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences in Hobart, Australia where I gave the Fingerprint Discipline Keynote, “Evidence for Expertise and Accuracy in Fingerprint Identification.” I took out the Best Oral Award and was given a few goodies at the conference dinner. My colleagues, Gary Edmond, Kristy Martire, and Glenn Porter, also won awards. On the social side, we were treated to a reception with the Governor of Tasmania, Peter Underwood AC, and an awesome masquerade ball at the Museum of Old and New Art. Click for more.
I attended at the the 6th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice, The Netherlands. I presented, “Evidence for Expertise in the Matching Performance of Human Fingerprint Examiners.” In addition to the scientific program, we enjoyed some time at the beach, dinner in a beautiful church, and a visit from Queen Beatrix. Click for more.
I spoke to a packed room at the 97th Annual Conference of the International Association for Identification in Phoenix, Arizona. I presented the results of an experiment showing that qualified, court-practicing fingerprint experts are exceedingly accurate compared with novices, but are not infallible. And considered the ramifications for the future study of forensic expertise, and the implications for expert testimony and public policy. (I also managed to sneak in a chopper flight over the Grand Canyon!) Click for more.
I met with Senator Jay Rockefeller’s staff on Capitol Hill while on a trip to Washington, D.C. Rockefeller is introducing a bill—the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2012—to promote research and reform in the forensic sciences. The staff asked for copies of my research and asked me to formally comment on the legislation in preparation for Senate Committee markup. I was honoured to make a contribution and hope my suggestions make it into the next round! Click for more.
I had the pleasure of attending a two-day workshop on Law, Science & Evidence hosted by Jennifer Mnookin and Jerry Kang of PULSE: Program on Understanding Law, Science and Evidence. I had thoughtful exchanges with Michael Risinger, Deborah Tuerkheimer, Bill Thompson, Gary Edmond, Rachel Godsil, Michael Pardo, Wendy Wagner, Song Richardson, Amanda Pustilnik, Jason Tangen, Christopher Kelty, Phillip Goff, and Simon Cole. Many thanks to the wonderful hosts! Click for more.
Beth Loftus researches the malleability of human memory and is one of the 100 most influential psychological researchers of the 20th century. I was lucky enough to have a drink and dinner with her, along with Jason Tangen, Eryn Newman, and Jess. Click for more.