Assessing cognitive bias in forensic decisions: a review and outlook

Curley, L. J., Munro, J., Lages, M. , MacLean, R. and Murray, J. (2020) Assessing cognitive bias in forensic decisions: a review and outlook. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 63(2), pp. 354-360. (doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14220) (PMID:31693180)

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203759.pdf - Accepted Version



In recent years, a number of studies have demonstrated that forensic examiners can be biased by task-irrelevant contextual information. However, concerns relating to methodological flaws and ecological validity attenuate how much the current body of knowledge can be applied to real-life operational settings. The current review takes a narrative approach to synthesizing the literature across forensic science. Further, the review considers three main issues: (i) primary research on contextual bias within forensic science; (ii) methodological criticisms of this research; (iii) an alternative perspective that task-irrelevant contextual information does not always lead to error. One suggestion for future research is outlined, which is that studies on contextual bias in forensic decisions should be conducted in collaboration between forensic scientists and cognitive psychologists. Only then can rigorous and ecological valid experiments be created that will be able to assess how task-irrelevant contextual information influences forensic analysis and judgments in operationally valid settings.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Bias, decision science, decision-making, forensic assessment, forensic psychology, forensic science.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lages, Dr Martin
Authors: Curley, L. J., Munro, J., Lages, M., MacLean, R., and Murray, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Forensic Sciences
ISSN (Online):1556-4029
Published Online:06 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
First Published:First published in Journal of Forensic Sciences 65(2): 354-360
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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