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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Most data on how police communicate with citizens come from eyewitness accounts—from drivers, outside observers, and officers themselves. The new work sought to get around that subjectivity by using audio recordings. “It’s taking it from the realm of what any two of us might discuss over drinks at a bar to using the tools of modern science to get a more precise picture,” says John Rickford, a linguist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved in the work.
Stanford researchers started with body cam footage from every encounter Oakland police had with black and white drivers in April 2014. They transcribed what officers said at 981 traffic stops to come up with 36,738 usable “utterances,” or conversational turns. Next, they had college students read and rate about 400 utterances for how much respect they showed, taking into account what drivers said just before officers spoke. The students, who had no knowledge of the driver’s race, rated speech toward black drivers as less respectful than speech toward white drivers overall.
“The differences are subtle,” says Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford and an author of the study. The language officers used with blacks was not “really disrespectful,” she says. It was just less respectful. One example on the low end: “All right, my man. Do me a favor. Just keep your hands on the steering wheel real quick.” On the high end: “There you go, ma’am. Drive safe, please.”
Eberhardt and her team then used software to rate the full set of 36,738 utterances. Even after controlling for driver age and gender; officer race; the crime rate and business density of the neighborhood; whether the stop resulted in a search, warning, citation, or arrest; and the severity of the offense (if there was one), more respectful language was used with white drivers than with black drivers, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Further, the analysis revealed that a white driver is about 60% more likely than a black driver to hear something from the top 10% most respectful utterances, whereas a black driver is about 60% more likely to hear something from the bottom 10%.
Those discrepancies can’t be fully blamed on a small number of officers, as they were seen in the majority of officers. Nor could they be attributed to the behavior of the drivers, as ratings showed discrepancies even accounting for what the driver had just said, and discrepancies appeared even in the first moments of an interaction. What’s more, given an equal number of utterances toward black and white drivers, researchers could train a computer to detect the race of the recipient with 68% accuracy.
Perhaps surprisingly, even black officers were seen as less respectful toward black drivers. “I think once they put on that uniform, there’s this pressure to be a cop and follow the norms,” Rickford says. But even if none of the results comes as a surprise, “what makes it such a phenomenal study is the methodology,” says James Pennebaker, a social psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin, who reviewed the paper. He says that some people could come to similar conclusions based on the history of police violence—blacks shot and killed by officers are more likely to be unarmed than whites shot and killed by officers—but this study starts “at the beginning of the interaction.”
Pennebaker and others say the study could improve officer training. In a few years, for example, officers might receive an automated score after each stop, along with pointers on different language they could consider using. A body cam that nags about politeness might not be well received, but given that respect is often reciprocated, such a device could be a life saver.
To read more Click or Copy: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/body-cams-reveal-us-police-use-less-respectful-language-black-driversPost Views: 522
Europeans are closer to Neanderthals than Africans are: Ancient DNA in humans is due to species interbreeding after man left AfricaBy Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
- Breeding with Neanderthals has long been known to have left its traces in the DNA of modern Europeans
- Now scientists in Edinburgh have confirmed that the genetic similarity between the two must have arisen after interbreeding in Europe and Asia
- They believe two per cent of neanderthal DNA which exists in people today came from the mating outside of Africa
Europeans may be closer to their Neanderthal cousins than previously thought, new research suggests.
Breeding with Neanderthals has long been known to have left its traces in the DNA of modern Europeans.
Scientists in Edinburgh have now confirmed that the genetic similarity between the two must have arisen after interbreeding in Europe and Asia, before our ancestors spread across the globe.
Scientists at Edinburgh University have shown that the genetic similarity between Neanderthals and non-African modern human populations must have arisen after interbreeding in Europe and Asia
Previous research speculated that modern Europeans and Asians are related to neanderthals because they originated from a similar sub-population in Africa.
Both groups evolved from a common ancestor in Africa before spreading to other parts of the world.
The two groups emerged at different times with neanderthals leaving the African continent more than 200,000 years before humans did.
Now scientists at the University of Edinburgh and Wageningen University found the species mated in Europe and Asia thousands of years ago.
Neanderthal groups (skull, pictured) are believed to have been small and relatively isolated, which meant a natural emotional focus on close internal relationships
The research involved dividing up the genetic code of each sub-species to calculate the statistical likelihood of distant or recent interbreeding.
They traced the biological ties that exist between humans and the ancient species which are believed to have died out around 30,000 years ago.
The research found that the two per cent of neanderthal DNA which exists in people today came from the mating outside of Africa.
As well as revealing details of the shared history of humans and neanderthals, their research could be used to reconstruct the history of any species, including rare or extinct ones.
Dr Konrad Lohse, one of the scientists from the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Although there has been mounting evidence for genetic exchange between modern humans and Neanderthals in Eurasia from a number of recent genetic studies, it has been difficult to rule out ancestral structure in Africa. We hope our study settles this issue.’
Last week, scientists said that modern Europeans share a number of genes involved in the build-up of certain types of fat with Neanderthals.
The same genes were not seen in people from Asia and Africa, however.
It is thought that ancient genes might have helped Europeans adapt better to colder climates, giving them an evolutionary advantage.
This is the first time we have seen differences in lipid concentrations between populations,’ said evolutionary biologist Philipp Khaitovich the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai, China.
‘How our brains are built differently of lipids might be due to Neanderthal DNA.Post Views: 535