Editor’s Note - We received this study conducted by a psychology graduate student who wishes to remain anonymous.

OBJECTIVE:
The principal objective is to determine the general method of decision-making based on either emotion or logic.  Emotional thinking can be defined as unnecessary influence of emotions on the thought process that can lead to selective or imbalanced decisions (Mehrabian, 2010).  Logical thinking is skill-based, wherein these skills are used to create a process to understand the facts and determine the correct course of action.This type of thinking is a more structured approach that enables us to create a step process to come to a conclusion (Albrecht, 2000).  While both types of thinking are used daily in our personal and professional lives, research indicates that emotional thinkers are prone to biased decisions where logical thinkers produce unbiased decisions.

METHOD:
A two-question survey was conducted among a random sampling of 50 people.  Answer options for both questions were either yes or no.  Question 1 (Q1) was not accessible until question 2 (Q2) was answered.  The questions were based off of a heavily publicized current event, with facts being provided by criminal complaints, police reports, and hospital records.  Q1 and Q2 only had one independent variable.  For Q1 the independent variable was “A person”.  For Q2 the independent variable was “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev”. The questions were otherwise identical.  

QUESTIONS:
Q1 - A person suspected of committing multiple violent crimes receives 16 critical wounds from law enforcement during apprehension.

Factors of apprehension incident:
  • Suspect was a teenager
  • Suspect was believed to be armed
  • Suspect did not present any aggressive actions during apprehension
  • Suspect was ultimately unarmed
  • Suspect did not fire on law enforcement
  • Suspect did not resist
  • Suspect did not respond to police orders or negotiations
  • Law enforcement fired into suspect's shelter (hiding place)

Injuries to the suspect during apprehension incident.:
  • Multiple gunshot wounds to hand, arms, legs, lower back
  • Gunshot wound to cheek resulting in the obliteration of jaw bone, loss of hearing in one ear, decreased sight in one eye
  • Knife wound to neck extending from behind the ear to the collar bone

Injuries to law enforcement during apprehension incident:
  • None

1) Considering only the factors presented, do you feel that this was excessive use of force on law enforcement's behalf?
Q2 - Suspected Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, receives 16 critical wounds from law enforcement during apprehension.

Factors of apprehension incident:
  • Tsarnaev was a teenager
  • Tsarnaev was believed to be armed
  • Tsarnaev did not present any aggressive actions during apprehension
  • Tsarnaev was ultimately unarmed
  • Tsarnaev did not fire on law enforcement
  • Tsarnaev did not resist
  • Tsarnaev did not respond to police orders or negotiations
  • Law enforcement fired into Tsarnaev's shelter (hiding place)

Injuries to Tsarnaev during apprehension incident.:
  • Multiple gun shot wounds to hand, arms, legs, lower back
  • Gun shot wound to cheek resulting in the obliteration of jaw bone, loss of hearing in one ear, decreased sight in one eye
  • Knife wound to neck extending from behind the ear to the collar bone

Injuries to law enforcement during apprehension incident:
  • None

2) Considering only the factors presented, do you feel that this was excessive use of force on law enforcement's behalf?

MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS:
Data was measured using the following equation:
  • Q1 and Q2 yields both “yes” = unbiased logic
  • Q1 and Q2 yields both “no” = unbiased logic
  • Q1 yields “no”, Q2 yields “yes” = emotional bias
  • Q1 yields “yes”, Q2 yields “no” = emotional bias

Unbiased response - For logical thinkers the independent variable should be irrelevant resulting in identical responses to identical questions.

Biased response - For emotional thinkers the independent variable should produce an emotional reaction resulting in different responses to identical questions.



KEY QUANTITATIVE RESULTS:
  • 85% of the respondents answered Yes to Q1 - Use of force was excessive for “A suspect”
  • 55% of the respondents answered Yes to Q2 - Use of force was excessive for “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev”

  • 15% of the respondents answered No to Q1 - Use of force was not excessive for “A suspect”
  • 45% of the respondents answered No to Q2 - Use of force was not excessive for “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev”

  • 70% gave consistent answers (Yes/Yes or No/No) = logical
  • 30% gave inconsistent answers (Yes/No or No/Yes) = emotional bias


INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSION:
The nature of the question is ultimately irrelevant, any number of questions could have been asked as long as the independent variable was not a primary factor.  Examples of primary factors would be:  suspect was armed, suspect fired on police, suspect resisted, injuries to law enforcement officials were substantial, etc.  

For the purposes of this study, the relevance lies in the consistency or inconsistency of the answers when the independent variable is not a primary factor.  The name of the suspect is not a primary factor.  

We can reasonably conclude that the majority of the subjects found the independent variable irrelevant and utilized logic in their decision-making resulting in an unbiased response to the given scenario.  We can also assume that 65% of the subjects maintained their core values and beliefs.

Reasons for biased responses were not measured in this study but could include predisposed emotional beliefs in regards to: race, religion, age, culture, and/or media influence where the independent variable was considered.

Real world interpretations where the question is relevant could include; public perception of the fundamental right of the presumption of innocence and the ability to seat an impartial jury.

Although the study submitted to WEARETHELION was specifically conducted to measure emotional thinking against logical thinking, other observations can be made:

  • 85% thought the use of force was excessive UNTIL they were told the suspect was Dzhokhar; then 30% fewer people thought the use of force was excessive.  
  • 15% thought the use of force was not excessive until they were told the suspect was Dzhokhar; then 30% more people thought the use of force was not excessive.

This unequivocally shows that 30% of those questioned showed bias towards Dzhokhar.

The psychologist proposed possible reasons why this bias exists but admits that this study was not designed to measure the cause of the bias.  Based on your observations, do you think this study is representative of the general public?  Do you think more or less people would show bias?  What do you think are the roots of this bias?
Blake
7/3/2013 03:04:15 am

The questions are not that well phrased. The facts that the suspect had just been involved in a long shootout with police in which bombs were thrown and guns shot at police and that he was also the lead suspect in a terrorist bombing, the fact that the police had every reason to believe that the suspect was armed/equipped with bombs was also left out. Put the name in and these facts become clear to those sampled.

On the injuries - where are the medical records that state the extent of his injuries (not saying you are not right)? How many of those injuries were sustained in the earlier shootout? I do not know for certain if real bullets or rubber bullets were used at the time of his capture. Do you? and if so how?

Reply
Aria
7/3/2013 03:53:41 am

Is your hatred of Jahar blinds you to the facts? It has been confirmed that he was unarmed in the boat! How would he be involved in a shootout if he didn't have a gun? Jeez.

Reply
Blake
7/3/2013 03:57:26 am

Not hatred, just a preference for facts over fantasy :) The fact is the police had no way of knowing he was unarmed, and good reason for presuming he was armed.

B
7/4/2013 11:23:59 am

Even if he had guns we would have held them in his hands. But they deliberately shot on his face. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Blake
7/5/2013 09:23:04 pm

@B
Difficult to say they deliberately shot at his face. They might have, but......

In the first shoot out there were bullet holes inside surrounding houses. Whether these were fired by cops or by Tam and Jahar we do not know, but it gives an idea of the accuracy of some of the shooters.

We do not know the full extent of Jahar's wounds.
We do not know which wounds came from the first shoot out and which came from the boat.
If they were using real bullets at the capture scene (they probably were) and the wounds came from bullets shot through the boat - the taget would have been the boat rather than any particular part of Jahar's body.

Shelley
7/3/2013 02:45:07 pm

Blake, "the fact that the police had every reason to believe that the suspect was armed/equipped with bombs" The police originally stated that Dzhokhar was shooting at them and throwing bombs at them from the boat. He wasn't. They lied. But I am expected to believe that he definitely was throwing extremely heavy pressure cooker bombs from a speeding car and detonating them at the police cars, but the police were not injured? I am supposed to believe that any explosions were caused by the flash-bangs the police were using? They also said Dzhokhar was wearing a suicide vest. Another lie. Did they have "every reason" to believe? No. The evidence does not speak to that. Suicide jihadists don't desperately try to survive. Fact.

Reply
Blake
7/3/2013 08:36:42 pm

Hello Shelley. I am talking about the shootout between Tam and Jahar and the police. I believe they were throwing bombs, mainly pipe bombs and that the police found other bombs as detailed in the indictment.In which case, the police would assume that there was a very high likelyhood that the suspect in the boat was armed and perhaps had bombs.

Your position is that the police and witnesses lied about that shootout and planted the unexploded bombs on the scene. I doubt you would even agree that Tam was armed. We are so far apart that there is no point discussing the indictment, any of the evidence or any other part of the case.

They searched Dzhojhar to see if he was wearing a suicide vest, nowhere was it reported that he was wearing a suicide vest. Here I am sure that we will once more disagree.

At the time of the capture noone suggested that the bomber was a "Suicide Jihadist' - again here I am sure you will disagree.

Your position is that it is a police/FBI/CIA/Residents/Witnesses conspiracy. My position is the much simpler one - that they had bombs and did shoot at the police.

John
7/5/2013 01:55:36 am

Shelley, it's also important to separate what law enforcement actually said and what the media said, which I really think is confusing people. I felt sorry that this was a 19 year old involved in all this, but do you think they should have sent one cop after him to make it a fairer fight! The bombings certainly didn't give anyone a chance. I'd like to think they could have been better and handled the boat scene a bit better from the information we now know. But I can emotionally feel sorry for Dzhokhar as a person who's being hunted down, yet logically look at the picture of real life.

Blake
7/3/2013 03:07:27 am

Well known tactic :) Phrase questions in the right way and you can always prove any preconceived and desired constat.

Reply
H
7/3/2013 04:50:31 am

i was expecting those answers to be honest. the media (in the US) is biased and people listen to what the media says. they consider Jahar as a dangerous terrorist so most of them will think that it wasn't an excessive use of force in this case.
85% of the respondents answered Yes to Q1 and only 55% of the respondents answered Yes to Q2

Reply
J
7/3/2013 07:05:58 am

On the contrary I think the media delved so deeply into Dzhokhars life from a superficial manner that it gained him empathy from a lot if people due to the childhood pictures etc,I was really sad for the senselessness of the bombings yet i fully admit i felt somewhat sorry or him after the boat, and picture of him lying on ground injured but i hate to see anything hurt, Bias comes from many things. I think the police fired at boat for no good reason yet I also wonder what I would do if I thought this person could have a gun or bomb.

Reply
Meg
7/8/2013 04:51:06 pm

This sample size is so small compared to the 313.9 million people in the US and not to mention the population of the world. As someone with a degree in psychology and who has completed 2 undergraduate theses, a sample size of 50 is puny and does not even touch the representation of the general public. Fallacious based on insufficient statistics. I'd like to see a larger sample size. The results are not surprising though. Human emotions are the driving factors of our lives.

Those of us who can feel empathy, also feel fear. Fear is usually expressed through anger. I think that if you put yourself in the shoes of not only the victims/families affected, but law enforcement, you'd be raging with fear and anger and would probably act with as much force. These crimes were against the people of the United States and Jahar being charged with these heinous acts makes Americans fearful and angry.

Let's assume Jahar and Tamerlan are guilty and did everything of which he is charged. Do you think what he and his brother (allegedly) did was excessive? I do. When he pretty much did everything but hold up a sign saying he did this. For anyone to do this against a whole country is pretty terrible and way worse than what law enforcement did, in my opinion.

Let me be clear, I actually feel empathy towards Jahar and like most of you wish he were innocent (or will be found innocent), but at the same time I can see way beyond that and see what the facts are.

I think a lot of the supporters are letting their emotions get in the way oppositely because of who he is. Instead of anger and fear, it's empathy and infatuation (I don't mean you want to hold his hand and cuddle and shit) with him and even a little fear here and there, but for him, not you (**key point..fear drove out anger in the law enforcement towards jahar. AND fear felt by the supporters is fear for jahar, not fear of him). People can identify with him. He is your friend, college roommate, you, your brother, whatever. It's not just law enforcement and pro-'murica, fuck yeah! citizens who are letting emotions get in the way. It can go either way: positively or negatively. I imagine if all 50 of the participants came from this website and were supporters the numbers would be reversed.

I'm not trying to start anything because I have an opposing opinion, I just find this all so interesting and just want to hear your side, but you have to open to our side too. You can't take numbers and say hey this study shows this because it makes our argument more valid. Have to consider and non-bias take on ALL information.

Human emotions can play tricks on our brains, but it doesn't make anyone more right. We are all bias in this and it's ones ability to step away from the bias and really see what's there. You have to decide what is fact and what is emotion and separate it. Don't forget law :) The courts will throw in laws and these are the laws that must be used to convict him. You'll know all about that if you've ever served on a criminal jury before. It's not easy. One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make even though I knew he was guilty. It's not as easy as it looks. Truth will come out.

Reply



Leave a Reply.



    Archives

    September 2013
    August 2013
    July 2013
    June 2013
    May 2013