120319TriversMarch 19, 2012

In “The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life” (2011), Robert Trivers briefly addresses the causes and costs of the ritual abuse mania.

I asked Trivers, professor of anthropology and biological sciences at Rutgers University, about the role played by prosecutors in such cases:

“Prosecutors are notoriously vulnerable to tunnel vision – i.e., once a suspect has been identified, others disappear from sight; they also need to justify themselves in retrospect.

“I was told by (Innocence Project cofounder Peter J.) Neufeld that even after incontrovertible DNA evidence, 75 percent of the original detectives who came up with (and helped convict) the wrong person still say they believe they got ‘the right man.’ ”