The Ideal of the Dispassionate Judge: An Emotion Regulation Perspective

6:2 Emotion Review 142, April 2014

10 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2015

See all articles by Terry A. Maroney

Terry A. Maroney

Vanderbilt University - Law School

James Gross

Stanford University - Psychology

Date Written: November 10, 2013

Abstract

According to legal tradition, the ideal judge is entirely dispassionate. Affective science calls into question the legitimacy of this ideal; further, it suggests that no judge could ever meet this standard, even if it were the correct one. What judges can and should do is to learn to effectively manage — rather than eliminate — emotion. Specifically, an emotion regulation perspective suggests that (a) judicial emotion is best managed by cognitive reappraisal and, often, disclosure; (b) behavioral suppression should be used sparingly; and (c) suppression of emotional experience is rarely helpful. We argue that the dispassionate-judge ideal presents barrier to achieving the flexibility necessary for adaptive judicial emotion regulation. We suggest a new ideal, that of the emotionally well-regulated judge, and propose several directions for future research to strengthen ties between law and psychology, with particular attention to the study of emotion.

Keywords: judges, emotion, emotion regulation, law and psychology

Suggested Citation

Maroney, Terry A. and Gross, James, The Ideal of the Dispassionate Judge: An Emotion Regulation Perspective (November 10, 2013). 6:2 Emotion Review 142, April 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2688718

Terry A. Maroney (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615 343 3491 (Phone)

James Gross

Stanford University - Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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