Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1026414
 
 

Citations (18)



 


 



Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases


Chris Guthrie


Vanderbilt University - Law School

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski


Cornell Law School

Andrew J. Wistrich


California Central District Court


Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming
Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 07-25
Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-32

Abstract:     
How do judges judge? Do they apply law to facts in a mechanical and deliberative way, as the formalists suggest they do, or do they rely on hunches and gut feelings, as the realists maintain? Debate has raged for decades, but researchers have offered little hard evidence in support of either model. Relying on empirical studies of judicial reasoning and decision making, we propose an entirely new model of judging that provides a more accurate explanation of judicial behavior. Our model accounts for the tendency of the human brain to make automatic, snap judgments, which are surprisingly accurate, but which can also lead to erroneous decisions. Equipped with a better understanding of judging, we then propose several reforms that should lead to more just and accurate outcomes.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42

Keywords: behavioral law and economics, judges, heuristics and biases, dispute resolution, psychology, realism, formalism

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Date posted: November 2, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Guthrie, Chris and Rachlinski , Jeffrey J. and Wistrich, Andrew J., Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases. Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 07-25; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-32. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1026414

Contact Information

Chris Guthrie (Contact Author)
Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-6823 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)
Jeffrey John Rachlinski
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Andrew J. Wistrich
California Central District Court ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States
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