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Undisciplined: Of Puppets And Punishment

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Even if you’re a judge, a prosecutor or a police officer, you might not have given a lot of thought to the question of why we punish people. You might simply conclude that we punish people when they need to be punished. Developmental psychologist Julia Marshall isn’t satisfied with that sort of simplicity. We’ll talk to her about when and why we punish.

Marshall's latest study, recently published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, demonstrates that the urge to punish is so strong that even as children, many people are willing to make personal sacrifices in order to see a wrongdoer punished. 

 

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including Inheritance with geneticist Sharon Moalem and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His forthcoming book, Superlative, will look at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways.