Shoddy Reliability of Forensic Evidence II: Systematic bias and judgment errors in forensic mental health evaluations

A new study hot off the press addresses “typical judgment errors” in forensic mental health reports (Iudici, Salvini, Faccio, & Castelnuovo (2015).The Clinical Assessment in the Legal Field: An Empirical Study of Bias and Limitations in Forensic Expertise, Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1831. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01831).

Content analyses of forensic mental health evaluations revealed distortions in the attributions of causality, inferential errors, and epistemological inconsistencies similar to judgment errors made by the “man in the street.”


Shoddy Reliability of Forensic Evidence I: Bite-mark forensics

Today’s NY Times (“Lives in Balance, Texas Leads Scrutiny of Bite-Mark forensics”; 12/13/2015) reports on the recent exoneration of a man imprisoned for 28 years, based on shoddy forensic bite-mark evidence. The ongoing crisis in forensic evidence and expert testimony–reflected in admissions that crime labs (including the FBI) use sloppy methods and unreliable science continues […]


Fatal Injury Caused by a Ram (Ovis Aries) Attack

The Journal of Forensic Science presents fascinating case studies of forensically-relevant pathology, crime scene analysis, and behavioral science. This study documents the death of an 83-year old Croatian man killed by a 4 year old, 120 kg ram. Cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries. The article emphasizes the rare but not insubstantial dangers […]


APA Torture Investigation Final Report

Attached in PDF and shown below is the complete text of the REPORT TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: INDEPENDENT REVIEW RELATING TO APA ETHICS GUIDELINES, NATIONAL SECURITY INTERROGATIONS, AND TORTURE, dated July 2, 2015.  


Steady Progress in Neurolaw_Latest from the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience

Readers may be interested staying abreast of this cutting edge work. You can subscribe to the Neurolaw News. June 8, 2105 This message brings news about: A) Recent or Forthcoming Neurolaw Publications B) Neurolaw Media & News Clippings C) Conferences & Speaker Series D) Other Developments Recent or Forthcoming Neurolaw Publications 1. Melina R. Uncapher, […]


Dr. I. Dror’s keynote presentation at the 2015 APLS meeting in San Diego

The confluence of three decades of cognitive science and forensic decision-making is a very hot field of inquiry. Dr. Dror is a prominent researcher into decision-making in the forensic sciences and provides a sobering view of the state of forensic science and why this situation has been described as a “crisis” by the National Research […]


Significance of Combining Evaluations of Competency to Stand Trial and Sanity at the Time of the Offense

Chauhan, P., Warren, J., Kois, L., & Well-beloved-Stone, J. (2015). Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 21, 1, 56-59. This study examined the impact of conjoint CST and MSO evaluations on forensic examiner opinions. Readers are undoubtedly aware that contextual information may have a significant influence on examiner decision-making especially under conditions of uncertainty. The authors […]


Alcohol Intoxication and Blackout

A high percentage of crime is committed when both defendants and victims are alcohol intoxicated. Forensic clinicians are regularly asked to evaluate mental states at the time of the offense for accused perpetrators and victims of alleged crime during periods of alcohol intoxication. In criminal proceedings, both defendants and victims commonly claim that alcohol intoxication […]


Error and bias in forensic behavioral science

A crisis is brewing in scientific psychology and forensic science. This concerns the overall reliability of all psychological science (more on this later) and the quality of expert evidence and testimony in courts of law, regardless of the expert’s discipline (yes, even including the supposedly hard stuff, like DNA analysis). The consensus: alarmingly poor. This […]


Ipse Dixit, Expert witnesses, & Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology

Ipse Dixit in Latin means, “he himself said it”; It is frequently encountered in expert testimony. Ipse dixit is an unsupported statement that rests solely on the authority of the speaker. I think a better translation is “because I said it…[it is true].” It is a conclusory opinion without support. Gutheil & Bursztjan (2003) articulate […]