When Less Information is Better:
Blinding as a Solution to Institutional Corruption

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
Co-sponsored with the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics
November 1-2, 2013

Symposium Video
Informational Poster

Conference Agenda:
Friday, November 1, 2013

9:10-9:30 a.m. Welcome, Introductions, and a Primer on Institutional Corruption Christopher Robertson, J.D., Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School, Associate Professor, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law (symposium
Lawrence Lessig, M.A., J.D., Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Edmond J.
Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Note: The following 75-minute sessions include intros, three 17-minute talks, and 15-20 minutes of discussion.

9:30-10:45 a.m. Bias in Biomedical Science – moderated by Jennifer Miller Edmond J.
Safra Center
“The Failure of Disclosure and Professionalism to Solve Bias,” Sunita Sah, M.D., M.B.A., Ph.D. (Organizational Behavior), Assistant Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown
“The Many Purposes for Blinding in the History of Medicine,” Scott Podolsky, M.D.
(History of Science), Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, Harvard Medical
School, Jeremy Greene, M.D., Ph.D. (History of Science), Associate Professor of the
History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Ted Kaptchuk Professor of
Alternative Medicine, Harvard Medical School & Director of the Harvard-wide
Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapautic Encounter (PiPS) at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, David S. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., A. Bernard Ackerman
Professor of the Culture of Medicine, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of
Medicine, Harvard University
“Agenda Distortion: When Blinding May Not Be Enough,” Jonathan Marks, M.A., B.C.L.,
Associate Professor of Bioethics, Humanities and Law, Penn State University

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Ethics and Justice of Blinding – moderated by I. Glenn Cohen,
Petrie-Flom Center
“The Ethical Use of Placebos,” Franklin Miller, Ph.D. (Philosophy), Department of Bioethics
National Institutes of Health
“Protecting Patients by Withholding – or Requiring – Genetic Disclosure,” Robert Green
M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Genetics at Brigham
and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
“Rawls’s Justice as Fairness and Blind Review by Academic Journals,” Jonathan Gingerich
J.D., Ph.D. student (Philosophy), UCLA

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch (Provided for speakers and invitees. Others visit HLS cafeteria.)

1:15-2:30 p.m. Bias in Courtroom Science – moderated by Tania Simoncelli, M.S.,
Assistant Director for Forensic Science, Office of Science and Technology Policy,
Executive Office of the President, U.S. Government
“Modeling Domain Relevance: What Should Analysts Ignore and When?” William C.
Thompson, Ph.D. (Psychology), J.D., Professor of Criminology, Law, & Society and Psychology & Social Behavior and Law, University of California Irvine
“Blinding in Statistical Analysis to Infer Causation,” Jim Greiner, J.D., Ph.D. (Statistics),
Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
“Do Losses of Positive Results Stemming from the Adoption of Blinding Protocols Properly
Count as ‘Costs’ in Either Forensic Science or in Eyewitness Identification Settings?”
Michael Risinger, J.D., John J. Gibbons Professor of Law, Seton Hall University

2:45-4:00 p.m. Blinding of Courtroom Science – moderated by Avlana Eisenberg, Edmond J.
Safra Center
“Economic Incentives and Other Barriers to Blinding in Forensic Science,” Roger Koppl, Ph.D. (Economics), Professor of Finance, Syracuse University, David Krane, Ph.D.
(Biological Sciences) Professor of Biological Sciences, Wright State University and
CEO Forensic Bioinformatics, Michael Risinger, J.D.
“Using Multiple Blind Reviews to Establish a Statistical Standard of Care for Radiology,” Dan
Durand, M.D., Instructor of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins,
Christopher Robertson, J.D., Ph.D., and Jim Greiner, J.D., Ph.D.
“The Effects of Blinded Experts on Civil and Criminal Juries: an Incentive for Blinding?”
Megan Wright, Ph.D. (Sociology), Christopher Robertson, J.D., Ph.D. (Philosophy),
David Yokum, J.D., M.A., (Bioethics), M.A., Ph.D. candidate (Psychology), University
of Arizona

4:15-5:30 p.m. Courts, Law, and Institutions
– moderated by Adriane Gelpi, Edmond J.
Safra Center
“Blind Review of Judicial Disqualification Decisions,” David Yokum, J.D., M.A. (Bioethics),
M.A., Ph.D. candidate (Psychology)
“Why Non-Publication of Legal Decisions Can Prevent Herding on Bad Rules,” Anup Malani,
J.D., Ph.D. (Economics), Freeman Professor of Law, University of Chicago
“Information Rules for Institutional Design,” Jeffery Skopek, Ph.D. (History of Science), J.D.,
PFC Fellow and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School

5:30 p.m. Closing Remarks by Aaron Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (symposium co-convenor)

6:15 p.m. Reception and Dinner for Speakers and by Invitation

Symposium Agenda: Saturday, November 2, 2013

7:30-9:00 a.m. Working breakfast for presenters and Safra affiliates to discuss potential book project and other potential collaborations