Julia Lindpaintner

MFA Thesis

A blog documenting my journey creating a Master's thesis towards an MFA from the School of Visual Arts' Products of Design program.

10 Weeks, in brief

It started with a grand jury experience last summer. But really it started before that, during Affirming Artifacts last year, when I explored the lack of transparency in our criminal justice system in my project Unseal. But then really it started before that, during all the times I was frustrated by a misunderstandings, false incentives, and lose-lose propositions in the workplace. All these experiences and many more have contributed to my thesis exploration thus far. 

I am writing this post to summarize my journey this semester. 

I want behavioral science to design interventions that promote prosocial behavior without adding to our cognitive burden. What do I want my interventions to achieve? 3 ideas: Greater chance of win-win outcomes; mitigation of bias in the criminal justice system; and research standards and knowledge sharing in the design field. 

Let's see if we can make people cooperate through furniture—made a bench that requires people to coordinate their movement if it is to work well. Realized it's easy to get my friends to cooperate and that I am in an echo chamber of my own. 

Attended a meetup of the NY Young Republicans to watch the first presidential debate. Heard this from a gentleman attending the meetup for the first time: "I wanted to find someplace to watch the debate where I would feel safe."

Explored the concept of psychological safety—a term with origins in the business world, it describes a state in which one feels comfortable taking interpersonal risks, allowing for highest productivity and maximal innovation.

I interview 20 people in two weeks, from HR professionals and life coaches to behavioral scientists and social philosophers. I talk to them about what how to create environments of psychological safety. I note the subtle difference between this and the concept of "safe spaces." I think there is an opportunity to take this concept from the workplace to the public sphere.

I continue to conduct interviews, talking to people about criminal justice reform, their experience doing jury duty, and the ways in which algorithms have begun to enter the court system.

I hold a co-creation workshop on the future of the court system and ask participants to imagine what devices and gadgets there will be in the court system given some current trends and imaginary future constraints. We discussed all the thoughts over a leisurely dinner. I reported on the workshop to my class by rewriting the lyrics of the opening song of the hit-musical Hamilton.

I propose two services: OBJECTIVE, a service that brings innovative, behaviorally-informed tech to the courtroom to mitigate bias and reduce the cognitive burden on juries; and NUANCE, a service that combats echo chambers and filter bubbles by infiltrating your social media feeds and diversifying the perspectives to which you are exposed. 

I describe an app called COURT REPORTER that would digitize the currently analog practice of citizen court monitoring. 

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