Introduction to the Special Issue: Decision Making and the Law
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 20, p. 453, 2007
2 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2009
Date Written: 2007
Legal decision making is different from other types of decision making in several ways. For example, the decision makers range from highly qualified and trained professionals such as judges, making repeated decisions alone to novices such as jurors, making one off decisions in groups. Pertinent information may be unavailable to the decision maker, and he/she is also unlikely to receive much feedback about the quality of a decision. However, legal decision makers rarely suffer any consequences for making poor decisions. In our own research programs, we have strived to explain the judgment and decision making (JDM) of various legal actors including lay judges, juries, attorneys, and defendants. We have shown how the legal decision making process may conflict with scientific norms, as well as other benchmarks of rationality, and we have challenged the accuracy of such decisions. In organizing this special issue on Decision Making and the Law, our goals were to demonstrate some of the types of insights that research on legal decision making can provide to the field of JDM, as well as to stimulate our JDM colleagues into considering how their basic research may be applied to the legal context.
Keywords: Legal decision making, jurors, judgment
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