Cognitive Style and Judging

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JUDICIAL DECISION MAKING (pp. 279-284) (David Klein & Gregory Mitchell eds., 2010)

7 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2015

See all articles by Gregory Mitchell

Gregory Mitchell

University of Virginia School of Law

Philip Tetlock

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

An important dimension of judicial decisions little studied by social scientists is the scope of a court’s opinion. Traditional political science studies of judging emphasize the political valence of judicial opinions but do not address the scope with which commands or proclamations are issued. The valence of an opinion is, however, theoretically orthogonal to the scope of an opinion. Differences in the manner in which opinions are written may reflect deep differences in the ways that individual judges understand the causes of human behavior and their own ability to predict behavior and influence it through court action. These deep differences involve what psychologists broadly refer to as variations in “cognitive style,” a psychological construct that has been operationalized in a variety of ways to refer to individuals’ consistent ways of perceiving stimuli, processing information, and thinking about problems. We discuss the importance of cognitive style for understanding judicial behavior.

Keywords: cognitive style, judicial decision-making

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Gregory and Tetlock, Philip, Cognitive Style and Judging (2010). THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JUDICIAL DECISION MAKING (pp. 279-284) (David Klein & Gregory Mitchell eds., 2010) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2559245

Gregory Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-4088 (Phone)

Philip Tetlock

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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