Torture – Does it work and can it ever be justified? (w/ Jo Kenrick)

February 5, 2019 @ 6:10 pm – 7:10 pm
Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Whitehead Building, Goldsmiths University of London
8 Lewisham Way
London SE14 6PP
Prof. Christopher French

What if there was a dirty bomb hidden somewhere in the UK and you had to get a suspect to tell you where it was and how to disable it, what lengths would you go to? Recent revelations in the media about the UK government’s role in cooperating with the CIA torture programme have re-opened the debate on what is and is not acceptable when innocent lives are at stake. The President of the United States has declared that torture ‘absolutely works’ but the CIA’s own reports state that torture techniques “do not produce intelligence” and “will probably result in false answers”. This talk examines the ethical arguments for and against torture and reviews the science behind what techniques do and don’t work in eliciting information in high-pressure situations.

Jo Kenrick is a member of the Forensic Psychology Unit and an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths where she is researching the development of deceptive skill for her PhD. She has a wide range of research interests as you can see by her previous dissertation topics  –“Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves”: Why traditional rituals of death matter to modern people (BA, Religious Studies), One born every minute: A target selection hypothesis of deception abilities in Machiavellian personalities (BSc, Psychology) and The influence of information channels on attributions for Domestic Violence against Women in Sweden, Bulgaria and the UK (MSc, Research Methods).

This event is jointly hosted with Goldsmiths’ Forensic Psychology Unit.

All APRU talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. Attendance is free and there is no need to book in advance. You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the APRU’s “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of venue, etc.). Visit: