Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2217003
 
 

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Decision Making and the Law: Truth Barriers


Jonathan J. Koehler


Northwestern University - School of Law

John B. Meixner


Northwestern University - School of Law; Northwestern University - Department of Psychology

February 13, 2013

Gideon Keren & George Wu, eds., Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, Forthcoming
Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-04

Abstract:     
Reaching an accurate outcome is a central goal of the American trial. But structural features of the legal system, in combination with the cognitive shortcomings of legal actors, hinder the search for truth. Regarding the legal system, various rules and policies restrict decision makers’ access to evidence, violate the laws of probability, and limit the evidentiary concerns that may be considered on appeal. Regarding legal actors, informational deficits (particularly regarding scientific and statistical evidence) and cognitive biases of police investigators, witnesses (lay and expert), attorneys, judges, and jurors pose serious obstacles. We conclude by suggesting that research in judgment and decision making may hold the key to understanding legal decisions and increasing their accuracy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: decision-making, law, evidence, statistical evidence, jurors, judges, cognitive bias, heuristics, DNA

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K49

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Date posted: February 14, 2013 ; Last revised: March 3, 2013

Suggested Citation

Koehler, Jonathan J. and Meixner, John B., Decision Making and the Law: Truth Barriers (February 13, 2013). Gideon Keren & George Wu, eds., Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, Forthcoming ; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-04. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2217003

Contact Information

Jonathan J. Koehler (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
John B. Meixner
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
Northwestern University - Department of Psychology
Evanston, IL
United States
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