Category Archives: Expert witness

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]