Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Remembering the "individual" in individual differences research: A quote to note

I just ran across this statement in a recent article (see below). It served as a reminder of something I have always preached, but from-time-to-time, tend to forget as I analyze cognitive ability test data, post research articles, or suggest hypotheses regarding test score differences---be it here at this blog, in a journal article, book, book chapter, or professional presentation. The point being that we must remain vigilant in remembering the "individual" in individual differences research.

The privileged unit of analysis in psychology is the individual (Nesselroade, Gerstorf, Hardy, & Ram, 2007). Nevertheless, many data-analytic approaches coarsely aggregate data and tacitly assume group-average models to hold and to be interpreted in lieu of more fine-grained and, ultimately, person-specific models. For example, when a group of persons show an average increase of performance in a learning task, this does not mean that all persons follow a pattern of change similar to this average. In fact, none of the persons may be well represented by the average trend. In a similar vein, Tucker (1966) argued that the consideration of differences instead of averages will allow us to gain more information about the nature of basic functions underlying behavior. Ever since, researchers have been questioning coarse aggregation of data across persons (e.g., Lamiell, 1981; Nesselroade & Molenaar, 1999) as the estimates of averaged effects may not be representative of any single individual. In fact, strong inference about intra-individual variation from interindividual variation is only possible under the ergodic assumption (Molenaar, 2004), which assumes that the group model represents each individual's dynamics (homogeneity) and that those dynamics have constant characteristics in time (stationarity). In the same vein, Simpson (1951) pointed out that a statistical relationship observed in a population could be reversed within subgroups that form the population. For instance, “It may be universally true that drinking coffee increases one's level of neuroticism; then it may still be the case that people who drink more coffee are less neurotic” (Borsboom, Kievit, Cervone, & Hood, 2009, p. 72). Simpson's paradox may arise whenever inferences are drawn across different explanatory levels, for example, from populations to the individual, or from cross-sectional data to intraindividual change over time (see Kievit, Frankenhuis, Waldorp, & Borsboom, 2013, for further illustrations). Hence, there still is a need for focusing on individuals or subgroups of
individuals to more accurately model individual process idiosyncrasies and similarities across persons. Particularly, in light of large-scale empirical data sets, aggregation is more likely to lead to models with low informative value about individual underlying processes as it is often difficult to expand prior hypotheses to account for the large number of potential explanatory variables.

Quote is from this article:

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What do IQ researchers really think about the Flynn Effect?

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Research Bytes: The Flynn effect in the Czech Republic via BrowZine

The Flynn effect in the Czech Republic
Laciga, Jiří; Cígler, Hynek
Intelligence: Articles in press

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Research Bytes: Overlap Between the General Factor of Personality and Emotional Intelligence: A Meta-Analysis. via BrowZine

Overlap Between the General Factor of Personality and Emotional Intelligence: A Meta-Analysis.
van der Linden, Dimitri; Pekaar, Keri A.; Bakker, Arnold B.; Schermer, Julie Aitken; Vernon, Philip A.; Dunkel, Curtis S.; Petrides, K. V.
Psychological Bulletin: Articles in press

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Miranda at 50: A Psychological Analysis via BrowZine

Miranda at 50: A Psychological Analysis
Smalarz, L.; Scherr, K. C.; Kassin, S. M.
Current Directions in Psychological Science: Vol. 25 Issue 6 – 2016: 455 - 460


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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Research Bytes: What is the Flynn Effect, and how does it change our understanding of IQ? via BrowZine

What is the Flynn Effect, and how does it change our understanding of IQ?
Shenk, David
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science: Articles in press

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

SCOTUS blog analysis of yesterday's Moore v Texas arguments before SCOTUS

You can find an analysis of yesterday's oral arguments re Moore v Texas (hinging primary on adaptive behavior and Texas Briseno factors) a the SCOTUS blog.

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Court Decision: Bell v South Carolina (2016)

Another Atkins decision, this time from South Carolina. The court decided in favor of Bell's petition and considers him intellectually disabled and, thus, excusable from the death penalty. Decision can be found here.

Thanks to Dr. Greg Olley, who serve as an expert witness in the case, for making me aware of this recent decision

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SCOTUS transcripts for Moore v Texas Atkins ID case

Copy available at the following link

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Research Bytes: The Relation Between Intellectual Functioning and Adaptive Behavior in the Diagnosis of Intellectual Disability via BrowZine

The Relation Between Intellectual Functioning and Adaptive Behavior in the Diagnosis of Intellectual Disability
Tassé, Marc J.; Luckasson, Ruth; Schalock, Robert L.
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Vol. 54 Issue 6 – 2016: 381 - 390


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Texas Death Case Tests Standards For Defining Intellectual Disability

The case of Moore is getting lots of media attention

Texas Death Case Tests Standards For Defining Intellectual Disability

From NPR on Flipboard

Enlarge this image The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday hears a case that questions intellectual disabilities and the death penalty —…

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High court to examine mental disability, death penalty issue

High court to examine mental disability, death penalty issue

From News, a Flipboard magazine by Flipboard Newsdesk

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is set to examine whether the nation's busiest state for capital punishment is trying to put to death…

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Texas Death Case Tests Standards For Defining Retardation

Texas Death Case Tests Standards For Defining Retardation

From News, a Flipboard magazine by Flipboard Newsdesk

The U.S. Supreme Court returns on Tuesday to the question of mental retardation and the death penalty - specifically, what standards may…

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Special Olympics Chair comments on Moore v Texas SCOTUS Atkins death penalty case

TIME Ideas (Op-Ed)
Special Olympics Chair: Texas’ Standard of Intellectual Disability Is Horrific
'Labels have consequences'
By Tim Shriver,
November 18, 2016

Tim Shriver is Chairman of the Special Olympics

In recent months, name calling and bullying have grown to unprecedented levels. Even as both the President and the President-elect signal the need for unity, social media is full of venom, talk shows remain full of virulent attacks, winners gloat arrogantly and losers bemoan angrily. In our culture, nasty has become the new normal.

Our nation’s treatment of people with intellectual disabilities is more than enough evidence of this pattern. For them, labeling and ridicule are deadly serious problems. Labeling someone “retarded” isn’t a joke: it’s a sentence. People with intellectual disabilities are still institutionalized and abandoned because of the label. Isolation, unemployment and poverty are too often the norms.

That’s why it’s so important that laws look beyond stereotypes and fears and protect rights and dignity. The Supreme Court has a chance to do that on Nov. 29, 2016, when Justices will hear Moore v. Texas and determine whether Texas overstepped in its standards for determining intellectual disability in death penalty cases.

In 2002 when the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision Atkins v. Virginia, it moved in the right direction. After suffering through centuries of injustice, people with intellectual disabilities won a small measure of protection when the Court ruled that any individual with an intellectual disability had vulnerabilities that made it unconstitutional for the state to execute them. The same court that in 1927 authorized the forced sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities in state institutions with the infamous words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “three generations of imbeciles are enough,” this time got it right.

In so doing, the court overturned deep and terrifying stereotypes and recognized what both science and experience should have long made clear: people with intellectual disabilities have abilities but also challenges: they are less able to advocate for themselves; more likely to be coerced into behaviors they don’t understand; less likely to understand the implications of their actions and at higher risk for unreliable trials and wrongful convictions.

As a result of Atkins, the law of the United States now makes it illegal to kill a person with an intellectual disability—even for the state. But sadly, that hasn’t stopped the old stereotypes from remerging.

When Bobby Moore, a person with an intellectual disability, was 14-years old, his father became enraged that Moore couldn’t read and threw him out on the street. As a teen, Bobby did not understand the days of the week, how to tell time, and other basic information and skills.

Bobby ate out of trash cans, mowed lawns for money, and eventually lived in the back of a pool hall where he sometimes played pool. Like every person, including those with intellectual disability, Bobby was better at some things than others. With the help of others, he managed to survive.

But at the age of 20, Bobby was involved in a bungled robbery with two other people in which an employee was tragically shot and killed. He was convicted and sentenced to death. After a lower court found that Bobby had an intellectual disability and was therefore exempt from execution, Texas’s highest criminal court ruled that Bobby’s ability to play pool and mow lawns proved he never had an intellectual disability and could therefore be executed.

Remarkably, the court prohibited the use of current medical standards in evaluating intellectual disability in death-penalty cases and instead used its own unscientific approach and outdated stereotypes. The age-old tendency to label allowed the court to use age-old bias to create a unique set of Texas factors to determine intellectual disability while ignoring decades of science. It is especially shocking that these factors were and are based, in part, on John Steinbeck’s fictional character Lennie from the 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men.

In this case, fiction and stigma trumped science and the Constitution. Never mind that the Texas factors for determining intellectual disability are not used in any medical or clinical setting in the nation. In fact, they’re not even used elsewhere in Texas. In countless situations where the state is responsible for determining intellectual disability, it uses current scientific standards.

The inaccurate Texas standard reinforces one of the most damaging stereotypes about people with intellectual disability—that they can’t be “good” at anything. The reasoning is dangerous and flawed: if you can mow a lawn, you can’t have an intellectual disability. If you have an intellectual disability, therefore, you can’t do anything. Both are wrong—dangerously wrong.

Happily, today people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer and more productive lives than ever thanks to a deeper understanding of their strengths and more generous support for their challenges. In a time of otherwise hopeful change, Texas’ use of stigmatizing stereotypes is a dark blot on our nation’s laws and culture.

Labels have consequences. What we may allow in public discourse, we should not and cannot tolerate in law. It’s time for the Supreme Court to remind our nation that the Constitution and the vision of rights it embodies have no place for ill-informed and deadly stigmas.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Court Decision: Long v Davis (TX: 2016)

Long v Davis (TX: 2016) Atkins COA denial is now posted in Court Decision blogroll. Also available by clicking here.

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Walls v Florida (2016) - remand based on Hall v Florida SCOUTS decision

I just noted that I had failed to post a copy of Walls v Florida (October 2016) decision to the blog roll of cases. It will be available under the Court Decisions blog role in a few moments. A copy can be accessed here.

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Change in intelligence (Gf,Gc): Explanations of Mathew and Compensation effects and Knowledge-is-Power hypothesis

Click on image to enlarge

"According to a first perspective, higher initial levels of knowledge (or reasoning) could facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge (or reason-ing abilities), which has also been labeled Matthew effect1 (Fig. 1, Panel A). Even though the term was originally coined to describe the phenom-enon that eminent researchers often get more credit for the same scien-tific contribution than their unknown competitors (Merton, 1968), it has been applied to various psychological phenomena (e.g., Shaywitz et al., 1995; Stanovich, 1986). In the context of intelligence research, the knowledge-is-power hypothesis (Hambrick, 2004; Hambrick & Engle, 2002) assumes that prior knowledge is the best predictor of fu-ture learning within a given domain of expertise, even stronger than reasoning (beside the fact that the empirical support for corresponding compensation effects is rather weak). As a consequence, students who are already knowledgeable should show the strongest knowledge gains and the achievement gap would widen. Research on expertise suggested several psychological mechanisms accounting for such “fan-spread” effects (Walberg & Tsai, 1983), that is, with a profound knowl-edge base new knowledge can be processed faster, integrated deeper and retrieved more accurately (e.g., Chase & Simon, 1973; Hambrick & Engle, 2002)."

Footnote re Mathew Effect origin: The name refers to the bible verse: “To all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Matthew 13:12 and also 25:29, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version)

"In the second perspective on how growth in intelligence is related to baseline levels, the gap between more and less capable individuals closes with time. Assuming that the change in both hypothetical sub-groups is still positive, less able test takers catch up (Fig. 1, Panel C). In the school context, the psychological mechanism behind such a com-pensation effect is at first glance somewhat obscure, especially if one takes into account that achievement differences tend to increase over time. This putative contradiction can be solved by assuming that school education especially promotes students with lower abilities during the school year, but that the achievement gap enlarges during vacations (Alexander, Entwisle & Olson, 2001; Cooper, Nye, Charlton, Lindsay & Greathouse, 1996). However, a compensation effect could also result from a lack of support for talented students. Snow (1989, p. 871) inci-sively pointed to the conflicting aims of education in school, that is, “maximize achievement outcome for all students while minimizing achievement variations among them”, which is often “resolved” by tailoring instructions to the needs of less able students."

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thompson v Florida: Hall v SCOTUS related new evidentiary hearing

Thompson v Florida decision for a new evidentiary hearing, in light of Hall v Florida, can be found here.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

John Blume Op-Ed in National Law Journal: Why SCOTUS must enforce Atkins protection: Texas Briseno factors

National Law Journal (Op-Ed)
Why the Supreme Court Must Enforce 'Atkins ' Protection in Capital Cases
OPINION: Later this month, Texas' legal standard on the intellectually disabled will be examined.
 John Blume,
November 7, 2016  

In Atkins v. Virginia the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2002, ruled that the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause prohibits the execution of persons with intellectual disability. Given that intellectual disability is a long-­standing, well-established clinical diagnosis, the court naturally relied upon the scientifically valid, clinical consensus definitions of intellectual disability in creating the categorical bar.

Since Atkins, several states, ­primarily Florida and Texas, have exhibited displeasure with — and resistance to — the Supreme Court's decision by embracing nonclinical and unscientific practices that are intended to limit the effect of the constitutional mandate.

In Hall v. Florida, the Supreme Court, in 2014, addressed and rejected Florida's "bright line" 70 IQ score cutoff test for assessing intellectual disability, finding it fundamentally at odds with the generally accepted understanding that intellectual disability is "more than a number." This brought Florida back in line with the current science of intellectual disability.

This term, when Moore v. Texas is argued on Nov. 29, the court will consider Texas' attempt to make death row inmates' assertions of intellectual disability extremely difficult to establish.

Shortly after Atkins, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, in Jose Briseno's case (ex parte Briseno), expressed its dissatisfaction with the Atkins decision, declaring that its task was to determine "that level and degree of [intellectual disability] at which a consensus of Texas citizens would agree that a person should be exempted from the death penalty."

However, that was simply wrong. The Supreme Court had already decided in Atkins that any person with intellectual disability is exempt from the ultimate punishment. The court did not give Texas license to decide that some persons who have intellectual disability can nevertheless be executed because they do not have the "degree" of intellectual disability meeting a Texas-centric consensus. But that is what the state court did.

After explaining that the fictional character Lennie from Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" would meet Texas's definition, it created out of whole cloth seven "evidentiary factors" for Texas courts to consider in assessing claims of intellectual disability. The so-called Briseno factors are steeped in misconceptions and lay stereotypes of intellectual disability, and include clinically meaningless considerations, repudiated by the medical community, such as whether an individual's family and friends considered him intellectually disabled during his childhood and whether a person is capable of lying and hiding facts.

The Briseno factors are idiosyncratic to Texas. No other state has embraced them for use in capital cases where intellectual disability is at issue. In fact, even within Texas, the Briseno factors are not used in any other medical or legal context, like disability benefits or special-education determinations. The Texas capital-punishment system is, in short, an outlier. And its use of the aptly named "Lennie standard" explains why death row inmates with very strong claims of intellectual disability (such as Bobby Moore) routinely have those claims rejected. Texas has one of the lowest defendant success rates in the Atkins context in the nation.

The Supreme Court in Hall made clear that states' intellectual-disability determinations must be "informed by the medical community's diagnostic framework." Texas' use of the fictional character Lennie in establishing the intellectual disability baseline, combined with the creation and application of the Briseno factors, violates this requirement.

The clinical consensus definition of intellectual disability has three prongs: (1) significantly subaverage intellectual functioning; (2) significant deficits in adaptive functioning; and (3) onset in the developmental period. In Hall, the Supreme Court corrected Florida's deviation from the diagnostic framework on prong 1 by rejecting the state's bright-line rule that a person must have an IQ of 70 or below, regardless of the standard error of measurement inherent in any test of intelligence.

The Moore case presents the Supreme Court with Texas' nonscientific gloss on prong 2. Since Briseno, Texas courts have assessed adaptive deficits based on misconceptions about intellectual disability. Texas courts have used a person's ability to perform basic life functions like holding an unskilled job, surviving on the streets or obtaining a driver's license to negate compelling evidence of intellectual disability. But the medical community recognizes that many people with intellectual disability can perform these functions, and giving dispositive weight to perceived "strengths" while ignoring deficits is at odds with the basic diagnostic criteria.

The Supreme Court in Moore now has the opportunity to at least partially fix the underenforcement of Atkins in Texas. A trial judge, after hearing the testimony of several expert witnesses, concluded that Bobby Moore was a person with intellectual disability and that his death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Using the strict nexus requirement and the Briseno factors, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the lower court's judgment. In doing so, the state court rejected the consensus clinical definition of intellectual disability and failed to use the scientifically mandated diagnostic framework.

Intellectual disability should not mean something different in Texas capital cases than it does in other death penalty jurisdictions. The Atkins court spoke of the risk of the wrongful execution of persons with intellectual disability. That risk is currently a reality in Texas and it is time for the Supreme Court to change that.
John Blume is the Samuel F. Leibowitz Professor of Trial Techniques at Cornell Law School.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hall v Florida SCOTUS reverberations: Retroactive in Florida and Kentucky

From Bloomberg Law

The United States Law Week®
October 27, 2016
Criminal Law

IQ Rule for Death Penalty Retroactive in Fla., Ky.

BNA Snapshot

• Rule loosening restraints on mental disability evidence in death cases retroactive
• Opens door for fresh sentencing for some death-row inmates

Oct. 24 — Death-row inmates in Florida and Kentucky whose near-normal IQ scores blocked them from introducing any evidence that they are too intellectually disabled to be executed must be given a fresh chance to present their claims, a divided Florida Supreme Court and a unanimous Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Oct. 20 (Walls v. State, 2016 BL 350410, Fla., No. SC15-1449, 10/20/16 and White v. Commonwealth, Ky., No. 2013-SC-000791-MR, 10/20/16).  The decisions throw open the door for other death-row inmates who were barred from introducing such evidence just because their IQ scores were above a bright-line threshold.

Hall Rule Breaks New Ground

In both cases, the courts ruled that Hall v. Florida, 82 U.S.L.W. 4373, 2014 BL 145335 (U.S. May 27, 2014), which declared unconstitutional Florida's categorical bar against intellectual disablility evidence in capital cases for any convicted defendant whose IQ score is above 70, must be applied retroactively.

The rule announced in Hall is not simply a different interpretation of a rule of criminal procedure, it is a substantive restriction on the states’ power to execute someone, the Kentucky Supreme Court said in an opinion by Justice Bill Cunningham. “We are dealing here with a U.S. Supreme Court directive that not only proscribes intellectually disabled people from being put to death, but defines the manner in which the mental deficiencies of offenders must be evaluated,” Cunningham wrote. Kentucky Justice Samuel T. Wright III agreed that Karu Gene White should get a new hearing but concurred in separate opinion that addresses waiver issues.

The Florida Supreme Court reached the same conclusion about retroactivity in its 5-2 per curiam ruling. “We find that Hall warrants retroactive application as a development of fundamental significance that places beyond the State of Florida the power to impose a certain sentence—the sentence of death for individuals within a broader range of IQ scores than before,” it said.  Justice James E. C. Perry concurred in the result only and Barbara J. Pariente filed a separate concurrence arguing that Frank A. Walls was entitled to a new hearing to avoid “manifest injustice.” Justice Charles T. Canady, joined by Justice Ricky L. Polston, argued in dissent against making Hall retroactive, noting that it will cause “a major disruption to the application of the death penalty.”

The Florida Attorney General's Office and the Kentucky Attorney General's Office represented their respective states.

The Department of Public Advocacy represented White. The Office of the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel represented Walls.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lance J. Rogers in Washington at LRogers@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bna.com
For More Information

White v. Commonwealth is available at http://src.bna.com/jAE.
Wallis v. State is available at http://src.bna.com/jAI.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Research Byte: The negative Flynn Effect: A systematic literature review via BrowZine

The negative Flynn Effect: A systematic literature review
Dutton, Edward; van der Linden, Dimitri; Lynn, Richard
Intelligence, New Articles:

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Working memory studies among individuals with intellectual disability: An integrative research review via BrowZine

Working memory studies among individuals with intellectual disability: An integrative research review
Lifshitz, Hefziba; Kilberg, Esther; Vakil, Eli
Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 59 – 2016: 147 - 165


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Friday, August 12, 2016

A visual history of human knowledge

I am a HUGE fan of data visualization and network theory and analytics. I think these techniques, when applied to intelligence test data, could provide us much more important insights than the continued use (misuse?) of linear SEM/CFA models. Network visual models are elegant...and more reflective of "reality".

This is a very good TED talk.

A visual history of human knowledge

SCOTUS update: Moore v Texas - all amicus briefs and documents

Shout out to Guy McBride, John Willis, and Ron Dumont for reminding me that all relevant briefs and SCOTUS related documents for Moore v Texas are available at the SCOUTUS blog. I clearly had a brain spasm as I monitor the SCOUTUS blog regularly. Thanks guys.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

SCOTUS: Moore v Texas (2016) update - APA (and others) amicus brief

An update on the Moore v Texas (2016) case before SCOTUS. The American Psychological Association (and other mental health organizations) have filed an amicus brief that primarily challenges the Texas Briseno adaptive behavior factors. Click here to access the brief. I have yet to locate a copy of the AAIDD amicus brief.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Research byte: The influence of working memory and cognitive load on police shooting decisions, interrogation, and jury decisions

Working Memory and Cognitive Load in the Legal System: Influences on Police Shooting Decisions, Interrogation and Jury Decisions


The ability of police and jurors to make informed, unbiased decisions is paramount to the integrity of the legal system. Police and jurors as decision-makers follow procedures ensuring that individuals receive a fair trial from the time of arrest to sentencing. However this process has come under public scrutiny with recent negative media attention focused on police shootings, aggressive handling or interrogation of suspects, and jurors’ seemingly biased treatment of minority group members. Most researchers studying factors that motivate police and juror behavior focus on the external influences of decision-making, such as the climate of violence in a neighborhood, or culturally-entrenched criminal stereotypes. Fewer have focused on the cognitive factors that impact the internal decision-making processes. In this review we compile the research on individual differences in cognitive ability (e.g., working memory capacity) and event circumstances (e.g., high emotion, attention load), that influence police and jury decision-making. The majority of studies in this area are laboratory-based which may attenuate the transfer of findings to real-world settings, but cognitive mechanisms engaged in the field are likely similar. Overall, this review suggests that overload of cognitive capacity reduces controlled processing ability, which may work to undermine the reliability of decision-making at all phases of the legal process. Field studies are needed to better understand when decision-makers may be overburdened, and what interventions are most appropriate.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Stephen Greenspan on "Why DSM5 suggested a switch from adaptive behavior to adaptive reasoning": APA Div 33 featured conversation

My long time friend and professional colleague Dr. Stephen Greenspan, is conducting a featured conversation hour for Division 33 at the forthcoming APA convention in Denver.  He has provided me an advanced copy of his outline and has graciously given me permission to make it available at the ICDP blog.  A copy can be obtained by clicking here.

Stephen is one of the great "thinkers" in the field of intellectual disabilities.  Our professional lives crossed long distance when I was a doctoral student.  My advisor, Dr. Robert Bruininks, put me in charge of a series of studies investigating the constructs of adaptive and maladaptive behavior.  These studies eventually led to my dissertation--which was a CFA validation study of Greenspan's Model of Personal Competence (see 1990 reference below).  To the best of my knowledge, this was the first published article validating Greenspan's model.

Below are links to the various articles (I simply grabbed them from my MindHub web page--please visit if you want additional information).  Consistent with Stephen's outline notes, in this validated model of personal competence, conceptual intelligence was operationalized as measured by intelligence tests, and was not considered a domain of adaptive behavior.

Of interest is the recent study by MaCann et al. that provides structural (CFA) evidence for a separate cognitively oriented social-emotional construct, distinct from the other cognitive domains in the CHC taxonomy of human intelligence.  Although MaCann et al. refer to the construct as emotional intelligence, a reading of the dimensions suggest it could easily be called social intelligence.  

Finally, as Bruininks and I were pulled away from our AB/PC program of research for different reasons, I continue to be perplexed why other researchers have not tried to extend and refine the research on the model of personal competence, particularly given its prominence (and disagreements) in definitions of ID.

Adaptive Behavior and Personal Competence Research (select articles)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Research byte: A cross-syndrome evaluation of a new attention rating scale: The Scale of Attention in intellectual Disability via BrowZine

A cross-syndrome evaluation of a new attention rating scale: The Scale of Attention in intellectual Disability
Freeman, Nerelie C.; Gray, Kylie M.; Taffe, John R.; Cornish, Kim M.
Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 57 – 2016: 18 - 28


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Texas Courts Rely on “Of Mice and Men” to Define Intellectual Disability and Sentence People to Death

Texas Courts Rely on "Of Mice and Men" to Define Intellectual Disability and Sentence People to Death

This piece originally appeared at Salon. Bobby James Moore has a lifelong intellectual disability,…

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Read it on aclu.org

Monday, June 6, 2016

SCOTUS Atkins activity: MOORE, BOBBY J. V. TEXAS The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted

MOORE, BOBBY J. V. TEXAS The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. One question presented relates to Texas’s problematic, non scientific Briseno factors for adjudicating Atkins claims.   SCOTUS Blog has all the papers here.


David Kaye on Hall v Florida-- "Deadly statistics: Quantifying an "unacceptable risk in capital punishment" - In press article in Law, Probability and Statistics

The following article is "in press" in Law, Probability and Statistics.  A preview can be found here.

Deadly Statistics:
Quantifying an “Unacceptable Risk” in Capital Punishment
David H. Kaye*
Law, Probability & Risk
Vol. 15, No. 4, Dec. 2016 (in press)

Abstract: In Atkins v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment ban on
cruel and unusual punishment precludes capital punishment for intellectually disabled offenders.
Death-penalty states responded with laws defining intellectual disability in various ways. In Hall v.
Florida, the Court narrowly struck down the use of a measured IQ of 70 to mark the upper limit of
intellectual disability because it created “an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability
will be executed.” But the Court was unclear if not inconsistent in its description of an upper limit
that would be acceptable. Four dissenting Justices accused the majority not only of misconstruing
the Eighth Amendment, but also of misunderstanding elementary statistics and psychometrics. This
article uses more complete statistical reasoning to explicate the Court’s concept of unacceptable risk.
It describes better ways to control the risk of error than the Court’s confidence intervals, and it argues
that, to the extent that the Eighth Amendment allows any quantitative cut score in determining an
offender’s intellectual disability, these more technically appropriate methods are constitutionally

Keywords: Hall v. Florida, cruel and unusual, Eighth Amendment, capital punishment, intellectual
disability, IQ, psychometrics, cut-score, measurement error, standard error, confidence interval,
shrinkage estimator, Bayesian inference, credible region, burden of persuasion

Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
I. The Intellectual Disability Trilogy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
II. The Need to Allow States to Use Cut Scores and the Meaning of “Significantly Subaverage”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
III. True Scores and Single-measurement Error Within Classical Test Theory.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
A. First- and Second-order Questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
B. True Scores and Measurement Error.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
C. Reliability and Standard Error of Measurement (SEM). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
D. Confidence Intervals from the SEM (SEM-IS).. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
E. SEM-adjusted-maximum Score (SEM-AM).. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
F. Confidence Intervals from the Standard Error of Estimate (SEE-IS). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
IV. Other Statistical Issues in and Outside of Hall. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
A. Multiple Scores. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
B. Credible Regions (BCR). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Summary and Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Only Two Justices Want To Tackle Whether The Death Penalty Should End

An Atkins related ruling

Only Two Justices Want To Tackle Whether The Death Penalty Should End

From News, a Flipboard magazine by Flipboard Newsdesk

Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are virtually alone in this effort. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer: Alone in their…

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Read it on huffingtonpost.com

Monday, May 30, 2016

Perlin on The Death Penalty and Mental Disability [feedly]

Perlin on The Death Penalty and Mental Disability
// CrimProf Blog

Michael L. Perlin (New York Law School) has posted 'Merchants and Thieves, Hungry for Power': Prosecutorial Misconduct and Passive Judicial Complicity in Death Penalty Trials of Defendants with Mental Disabilities (Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 73, 2016, Forthcoming) on...

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Morse on Law and the Sciences of the Brain/Mind [feedly]

Morse on Law and the Sciences of the Brain/Mind
// CrimProf Blog

Stephen Morse (University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted Law and the Sciences of the Brain/Mind (Oxford Handbook on Law and the Regulation of Technology, Oxford, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: This chapter is a submission to the...

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Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Clinical Psychology Practice: 2nd Edition (Paperback)

The Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Clinical Psychology Practice: 2nd Edition (Paperback)

The Handbook of Intellectual Disability and Clinical Psychology Practice will equip clinical…

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Read it on routledge.com

Monday, April 11, 2016

Panel to hold clemency hearing for Georgia death row inmate

Panel to hold clemency hearing for Georgia death row inmate

From News, a Flipboard magazine by Flipboard Newsdesk

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia death row inmate scheduled to die this week was neglected and mistreated as a child and has substantial…

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Research Byte: A NIT-picking analysis: Abstractness dependence of subtests correlated to their Flynn effect magnitudes via BrowZine

A NIT-picking analysis: Abstractness dependence of subtests correlated to their Flynn effect magnitudes
Armstrong, Elijah L.; te Nijenhuis, Jan; Woodley of Menie, Michael A.; Fernandes, Heitor B.F.; Must, Olev; Must, Aasa
Intelligence, Vol. 57 – 2016: 1 - 6


University of Minnesota Users:

Non-University of Minnesota Users: (Full text may not be available)

Accessed with BrowZine, supported by University of Minnesota.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ronell Wilson's Atkines ID/MR death penalty decision to be appealed

Andrew Keshner, New York Law Journal, March 23, 2016

The Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office will appeal a judge's decision to vacate a death sentence for a man convicted of murdering two police officers.

Prosecutors filed notice Tuesday saying they would challenge the decision to undo Ronell Wilson's death sentence. Eastern District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said Wilson was ineligible for capital punishment because he was intellectually disabled in the eyes of the law (NYLJ, March 16).
Garaufis had ruled in February 2013 that Wilson was not intellectually disabled and, therefore, eligible for capital punishment. Later that year, a jury said Wilson deserved death for the 2003 killings of undercover detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin. Wilson appealed, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sent the case back to Garaufis to review Wilson's mental capacity in light of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case, Hall v. Florida, 134 S. Ct. 1986.

On March 15, Garaufis said he would impose life imprisonment without the possibility of parole based on a "careful interpretation of evolving Supreme Court precedent and a sober review of the evidence." Wilson was convicted of the crimes in 2006; the same jury voted for execution. In 2010, the circuit kept the jury's guilt determination intact, but ordered retrial on the penalty phase. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Busa filed the notice of appeal in U.S. v.
Wilson. 04-cr-1016.

Prior posts at this blog regarding this Atkins case can be found here (access to court decisions) and here

Sunday, March 20, 2016

NY killer off death row as definition of disabled gets tweak

Some press coverage re Ronell Wilson decision.

NY killer off death row as definition of disabled gets tweak

From News, a Flipboard magazine by Flipboard Newsdesk

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors say Ronell Wilson is a calculating murderer. Since his imprisonment for killing two New York City police…

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Atkins MR/ID Court Decision: Ronell Wilson v US (NY; 2014) Atkins decision overturned (Wilson v US/NY, 2016)

Yesterday the prior decision (Wilson v US/NY, 2014) to not excuse Ronell Wilson as per Atkins, was overturned.  The new 2016 decision can be found here.  Wilson is currently the only individual on death row in NY as per the federal death penalty (click here for prior post).  This has been a very high profile death penalty case.

As per my policy, being one of the "six experts" mentioned in the decision as having provided an expert declaration, I will not comment on any aspects of the court decision.

Atkins ID/MR Court Decisions: Nixon v Florida update--2016 initial brief

A initial brief was recently filed with the Florida Supreme Court in the Atkins appeal of Nixon (Nixon v Florida).  A prior 2009 court decision can be found here

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Research Byte: Comparison of norms from three Spanish-language and one English-language WAIS-III tests (select subtests)

Norm Comparisons of the Spanish-Language and English-Language WAIS-III: Implications for Clinical Assessment and Test Adaptation.  Funes, Cynthia M.; Hernandez Rodriguez, Juventino; Lopez, Steven Regeser.  Psychological Assessment, Mar 7 , 2016, No Pagination Specified. http://dx.doi.org.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/10.1037/pas0000302


  1. This study provides a systematic comparison of the norms of 3 Spanish-language Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales (WAIS–III) batteries from Mexico, Spain, and Puerto Rico, and the U.S. English-language WAIS–III battery. Specifically, we examined the performance of the 4 normative samples on 2 identical subtests (Digit Span and Digit Symbol-Coding) and 1 nearly identical subtest (Block Design). We found that across most age groups the means associated with the Spanish-language versions of the 3 subtests were lower than the means of the U.S. English-language version. In addition, we found that for most age ranges the Mexican subsamples scored lower than the Spanish subsamples. Lower educational levels of Mexicans and Spaniards compared to U.S. residents are consistent with the general pattern of findings. These results suggest that because of the different norms, applying any of the 3 Spanish-language versions of the WAIS–III generally risks underestimating deficits, and that applying the English-language WAIS–III norms risks overestimating deficits of Spanish-speaking adults. There were a few exceptions to these general patterns. For example, the Mexican subsample ages 70 years and above performed significantly better on the Digit Symbol and Block Design than did the U.S. and Spanish subsamples. Implications for the clinical assessment of U.S. Spanish-speaking Latinos and test adaptation are discussed with an eye toward improving the clinical care for this community. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)