The Design of 'The First Experimental Study Exploring DNA Interpretation'

Science & Justice, Vol. 52, 2012, pp. 126-127

Penn State Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3-2012

3 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2011 Last revised: 17 May 2014

David H. Kaye

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law

Date Written: October 7, 2011

Abstract

This letter discusses a recent study by Dror and Hampikian published in Science & Justice. The authors infer that exposure to domain-irrelevant information caused DNA analysts in a criminal case to misinterpret a complex mixture. However, the “experimental study” is closer to a small observational study than to a controlled experiment designed to detect the effect of “domain irrelevant” information on the judgments of DNA analysts. As a result, problems of confounding and small sample size stand in the way of strong claims that the "experiment" demonstrates contextual bias in this particular case.

Keywords: DNA mixtures, cognitive bias, experimental design

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H., The Design of 'The First Experimental Study Exploring DNA Interpretation' (October 7, 2011). Science & Justice, Vol. 52, 2012, pp. 126-127; Penn State Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3-2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1965300

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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