Sunday, April 29, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - April 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • April 21 lecture - Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases: A Sensitive Skeptic’s Guide.
  • May 19 lecture: Public perception of Science: Lessons from a dead sheep presented by Adam Ruben
  • NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

April 2018

NCAS Public Lecture Series

Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases:
A Sensitive Skeptic's Guide

Martin A. Safer, PhD
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
The Catholic University of America

Saturday, April 21, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center
2nd Floor (West Room)
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD [map] [directions]
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Inaccurate eyewitness testimony and false confessions are two of the most common reasons for wrongful convictions in criminal cases. Using an actual case, Dr. Safer will illustrate why eyewitnesses may be inaccurate. However, it is wrong to presume that all eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Dr. Safer will present research on how to improve the quality of eyewitness evidence. Legal professionals around the world, as well as ordinary citizens, are relatively unaware of both the flaws and potential strengths of eyewitness evidence. Dr. Safer will describe the Interview-Identification-Eyewitness Factors (I-I-Eye) educational aid which helps sensitize individuals to judge
more appropriately what is likely to be accurate versus inaccurate eyewitness evidence.

Dr. Safer will also present research regarding confession evidence in criminal cases and will describe the Before-During-After educational aid for assessing the quality of confession evidence. It is hoped that learning about these educational aids will help audience members become more sensitive skeptics about good versus poor quality eyewitness and confession evidence.

Martin A. Safer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Catholic University of America, where he taught for more than 35 years. He has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, primarily in the areas of emotions and memory, including publications on eyewitness evidence and confession evidence. He has also served as an expert consultant on eyewitness evidence in criminal cases.

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

May NCAS Lecture
Molecular biologist/comedian Adam Ruben, host of Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel, will present "Public Perception of Science: Lessons From a Dead Sheep."  In 1997, the public learned that a sheep named Dolly had been cloned, and, as it is wont to do, the public went nuts. In this humorous and informative talk, Dr. Ruben discusses the fervor that accompanied Dolly's arrival - and how people are unashamed to form opinions about scientific advances that they don't understand. Saturday, May 19 at 1:30 PM at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
Are you an NCAS member who wants to take a leadership role in the skeptics movement?  The NCAS annual board of directors election is fast approaching.  Send an email to by April 30 for more information.

AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!When shopping at, you'll find the same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that a portion of the purchase price (0.5%) goes to NCAS! It's simple and automatic, and it doesn't cost you anything!

AmazonSmile's disbursements to NCAS in the fourth quarter of 2017 came to $33.28, meaning that over $6600 of purchases were designated in support of NCAS.  (As an example of how NCAS can put that money to good use, it's more than enough to cover an hour of a Montgomery County lecture room rental.)

Thanks again to our members who have chosen to support NCAS!

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