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Reasons Pro et Contra as a Debiasing Technique in Legal Contexts

Zenker, Frank LU ; Dahlman, Christian LU ; Bååth, Rasmus LU and Sarwar, Farhan LU (2017) In Psychological Reports
Abstract (Swedish)
Although legal contexts are subject to biased reasoning and decision making, to identify and test debiasing techniques has largely remained an open task. We report on experimentally deploying the technique “giving reasons pro et contra” with professional (N = 239) and lay judges (N = 372) at Swedish municipal courts. Using a mock legal scenario, participants assessed the relevance of an eyewitness’s previous conviction for his credibility. On average, both groups displayed low degrees of bias. We observed a small positive debiasing effect only for professional judges. Strong evidence was obtained for a relation between profession and relevance-assessment: Lay judges seemed to assign a greater importance to the prior conviction than... (More)
Although legal contexts are subject to biased reasoning and decision making, to identify and test debiasing techniques has largely remained an open task. We report on experimentally deploying the technique “giving reasons pro et contra” with professional (N = 239) and lay judges (N = 372) at Swedish municipal courts. Using a mock legal scenario, participants assessed the relevance of an eyewitness’s previous conviction for his credibility. On average, both groups displayed low degrees of bias. We observed a small positive debiasing effect only for professional judges. Strong evidence was obtained for a relation between profession and relevance-assessment: Lay judges seemed to assign a greater importance to the prior conviction than professional judges did. We discuss challenges for future research, calling other research groups to contribute additional samples. (Less)
Abstract
Although legal contexts are subject to biased reasoning and decision making, to identify and test debiasing techniques has largely remained an open task. We report on experimentally deploying the technique “giving reasons pro et contra” with professional (N = 239) and lay judges (N = 372) at Swedish municipal courts. Using a mock legal scenario, participants assessed the relevance of an eyewitness’s previous conviction for his credibility. On average, both groups displayed low degrees of bias. We observed a small positive debiasing effect only for professional judges. Strong evidence was obtained for a relation between profession and relevance-assessment: Lay judges seemed to assign a greater importance to the prior conviction than... (More)
Although legal contexts are subject to biased reasoning and decision making, to identify and test debiasing techniques has largely remained an open task. We report on experimentally deploying the technique “giving reasons pro et contra” with professional (N = 239) and lay judges (N = 372) at Swedish municipal courts. Using a mock legal scenario, participants assessed the relevance of an eyewitness’s previous conviction for his credibility. On average, both groups displayed low degrees of bias. We observed a small positive debiasing effect only for professional judges. Strong evidence was obtained for a relation between profession and relevance-assessment: Lay judges seemed to assign a greater importance to the prior conviction than professional judges did. We discuss challenges for future research, calling other research groups to contribute additional samples. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Law, Philosophy, Psychology, Rättsvetenskap, Filosofi, Psykologi
in
Psychological Reports
pages
16 pages
publisher
Ammons Scientific
external identifiers
  • scopus:85045056867
ISSN
0033-2941
DOI
10.1177/0033294117729807
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5f9f3e51-4d39-49bb-8c57-cd58b349dfa8
date added to LUP
2017-12-18 18:05:24
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:36:46
@article{5f9f3e51-4d39-49bb-8c57-cd58b349dfa8,
  abstract     = {Although legal contexts are subject to biased reasoning and decision making, to identify and test debiasing techniques has largely remained an open task. We report on experimentally deploying the technique “giving reasons pro et contra” with professional (N = 239) and lay judges (N = 372) at Swedish municipal courts. Using a mock legal scenario, participants assessed the relevance of an eyewitness’s previous conviction for his credibility. On average, both groups displayed low degrees of bias. We observed a small positive debiasing effect only for professional judges. Strong evidence was obtained for a relation between profession and relevance-assessment: Lay judges seemed to assign a greater importance to the prior conviction than professional judges did. We discuss challenges for future research, calling other research groups to contribute additional samples.},
  author       = {Zenker, Frank and Dahlman, Christian and Bååth, Rasmus and Sarwar, Farhan},
  issn         = {0033-2941},
  keyword      = {Law,Philosophy,Psychology,Rättsvetenskap,Filosofi,Psykologi},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  pages        = {16},
  publisher    = {Ammons Scientific},
  series       = {Psychological Reports},
  title        = {Reasons Pro et Contra as a Debiasing Technique in Legal Contexts},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0033294117729807},
  year         = {2017},
}