Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform

Thomas Stutsman, Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform, in CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN CHINA: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES (Michael McConville & Eva Pils eds., 2013)

52 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013 Last revised: 18 Aug 2013

Thomas Stutsman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: China, Chinese Law, Legal Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, Psychology, Legal Psychology, Empirical Legal Studies

Suggested Citation

Stutsman, Thomas, Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform (2013). Thomas Stutsman, Experimental Psychology and Criminal Justice Reform, in CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN CHINA: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES (Michael McConville & Eva Pils eds., 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2286526

Thomas Patrick Stutsman (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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