Category Archives: Expert witness

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, J. […]

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 examined […]

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 […]

Bias, cognitive heuristics, and forensic decision-making

The cumu­la­tive weight of 30 years of research orig­i­nat­ing in Tversky and Kaheman’s sem­i­nal 1974 descrip­tion of the men­tal short­cuts humans use when con­fronting cog­ni­tive ambi­gu­ity com­plex­ity, and Kahneman’s recent mas­ter­piece Thinking Fast, and Slow (2011, cf. Gilovich, Griffin, & Kahneman, 2002) has cre­ated a mature cog­ni­tive sci­ence of foren­sic decision-making. The find­ings are not […]

Forensic Psychology is Forensic Science.

There has been a grow­ing aware­ness, some would say cri­sis, con­cern­ing the mediocre qual­ity of expert foren­sic tes­ti­mony sub­mit­ted to the courts in the United States. This appears to be a func­tion of weak meth­ods, and a low thresh­old for judi­cial gate­keep­ing, despite clear man­dates in Rule 702 and Daubert and prog­eny on the foundations […]

Professional Ethics,“partisan allegiance,” and expert witness liability

Daniel Murrie and his col­leagues have pro­duced a series of recent stud­ies on “par­ti­san alle­giance” in foren­sic expert wit­ness work (see cita­tions below). They define par­ti­san alle­giance as the ten­dency for experts to bias their tes­ti­mony in favor of the side that calls them. They demon­strate this through inge­nious exper­i­ments with PCL-R rat­ings. The response […]

Thriving as a forensic psychologist

A nice arti­cle by William Foote PhD in APA’s Good Practice (Winter 2014) is worth a look for stu­dents who think they might be inter­ested in foren­sic psy­chol­ogy. Contrasting clin­i­cal and foren­sic psy­chol­ogy, he writes, “But the field is not for everyone…Forensic psy­chol­ogy is also much more con­fronta­tional. You’re often in an adver­sar­ial posi­tion, with […]