Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform
Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thomas Stutsman, Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform, in CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN CHINA: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES (Michael McConville & Eva Pils eds., 2013)
This paper argues that experimental psychology produces valuable insight that can be used to guide criminal justice reform. Although I focus on China, the arguments I set forth are relevant to criminal justice reform in countries around the world, including in the United States. The paper should therefore be of interest not only to specialists in Chinese or comparative law, but also to researchers and policymakers interested in using experimental psychology research to advance legal reform in the United States and other Western countries.
Part I summarizes the dominant approaches to legal scholarship in China and outlines the development and current status of legal psychology in China.
Part II explains how beliefs and assumptions regarding human behavior and mental processes permeate the formulation and implementation of evidentiary procedures.
Part III illustrates how experimental psychology findings can contradict widely held beliefs, thereby providing a unique perspective on the criminal process and avenues for reform.
Part IV discusses the main advantages and disadvantages of using laboratory experiments to study psychological phenomena and use the resultant findings to design criminal justice reforms.
Part V describes several obstacles to using experimental psychology to understand and advance reform of the Chinese criminal justice system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52
Keywords: China, Chinese Law, Legal Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, Psychology, Legal Psychology, Empirical Legal StudiesAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 29, 2013 ; Last revised: August 18, 2013
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