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Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity

In E. Shafir (Ed.), The behavioral foundations of public policy (pp. 126–142). NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-56

18 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2011 Last revised: 13 May 2017

Paul Slovic

Decision Research; University of Oregon - Department of Psychology

David Zionts

Harvard Law School

Andrew Keane Woods

University of Kentucky - College of Law; University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Ryan Goodman

New York University School of Law

Derek Jinks

University of Texas School of Law

Date Written: April 14, 2011

Abstract

The 20th Century is often said to be the bloodiest century in recorded history. In addition to its wars, the century witnessed many grave and widespread human rights abuses. But what stands out in historical accounts of those abuses, perhaps even more than the cruelty of their perpetration, is the inaction of bystanders. Why do people and their governments repeatedly fail to react to genocide and other mass scale human rights violations?

“Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity” by Paul Slovic from THE BEHAVIORAL FOUNDATIONS OF PUBLIC POLICY edited by Eldar Shafir. Copyright © 2013 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted by permission. This material may not be distributed, posted, or reproduced in any form by digital or mechanical means without prior permission of the publisher. All rights reserved by Princeton University Press.

Suggested Citation

Slovic, Paul and Zionts, David and Woods, Andrew Keane and Goodman, Ryan and Jinks, Derek, Psychic Numbing and Mass Atrocity (April 14, 2011). In E. Shafir (Ed.), The behavioral foundations of public policy (pp. 126–142). NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-56. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1809951

Paul Slovic (Contact Author)

Decision Research ( email )

1201 Oak Street, Suite 200
Eugene, OR 97401
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)
541-485-2403 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.decisionresearch.org

University of Oregon - Department of Psychology ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States
541-485-2400 (Phone)

David Zionts

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrew Keane Woods

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

Ryan Goodman

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Derek Jinks

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
(512) 232-1265 (Phone)
(512) 471-6988 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/profile.php?id=JINKSDP

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