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Legal Questions for the Psychology of Home

17 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2009  

D. Benjamin Barros

University of Toledo - College of Law


Intuitions often play a significant role in shaping debate about legal issues. This is particularly the case when homes and homeownership are involved, because the experience of everyday life gives lawyers and legal scholars a foundation for intuitive judgment. Intuitions, however, can be unreliable and misleading. They therefore provide a shaky basis for legal decisionmaking.

This brief essay, published as part of a special issue on Property and Psychology, begins by suggesting that the legal academy should follow the lead of the Experimental Philosophy movement and actively solicit empirical research on human behavior relevant to legal issues. It then describes a series of legal issues relating to the home that could benefit from this type of research, and concludes by suggesting that researchers interested in the psychology of home seek collaborators within the legal academy to develop legally-informed empirical studies.

Keywords: home, experimental philosophy, eminent domain, foreclosure

JEL Classification: K1, K11

Suggested Citation

Barros, D. Benjamin, Legal Questions for the Psychology of Home. Tulane Law Review, Forthcoming; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-06. Available at SSRN:

D. Benjamin Barros (Contact Author)

University of Toledo - College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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