On getting inside the judge’s mind

Dhami, Mandeep K. and Belton, Ian (2017) On getting inside the judge’s mind. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 3 (2). pp. 214-226. ISSN 2332-2136 (doi:10.1037/tps0000115)

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Abstract

According to the scales of justice, the judge, in an unbiased way and directed by law, attends to all of the available information in a case, weighs it according to its significance, and integrates it to make a decision. By contrast, research suggests that judicial decision-making departs from the cognitive balancing act depicted by the scales of justice. Nevertheless, the research is often dismissed as irrelevant, and the judiciary, legal policy-makers and the public remain largely unconvinced that the status quo needs improving. One potential rebuttal to the scientific findings is that they lack validity because researchers did not study judges making decisions on real cases. Another potential argument is that researchers have not pinpointed the psychological processes of any specific judge because they analyzed data over judges and/or used statistical models lacking in psychological plausibility. We review these two grounds for appeal against the scientific research on judicial decision-making, and note that it appears researchers’ choices of data collection methods and analytic techniques may, indeed, be inappropriate for understanding the phenomena. We offer two remedies from the sphere of decision-making research: collecting data on judicial decision-making using representative design, and analyzing judicial decision data using more psychologically plausible models. Used together, we believe these solutions can help researchers better understand and improve legal decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 22739
Notes on copyright: ©American Psychological Association, [2017]. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tps0000115
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Depositing User: Mandeep Dhami
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2017 15:52
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2019 05:12
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/22739

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