Bias

Occasionally, after I have completed an evaluation and proffered an opinion, a party accuses me of “bias.”  I think this means they disagree with my opinion. Most people cannot define “bias” very well.  Karen Franklin defines bias very nicely in her Feedblitz forensic psychology blog. I quote her below:

The term bias refers to a partiality that interferes with the ability to be fair or objective. Expressing a point of view does not make one biased. Rather, the articulation of informed opinion advances professional practice. Indeed, such “expert opinion” is precisely what courts seek from forensic psychologists when they solicit our testimony. An expert witness is expected to have a firm grounding in the applicable science, and to be able to critically analyze its strengths and weaknesses as it applies to a specific issue or case.

Needless to say, continuous self-examination, critical analysis of methods, and peer review are the most powerful antidotes to bias.

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