Judicial Decision Making: Is Psychology Relevant?

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jul 31, 1999 - Psychology - 258 pages
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In the mid-1970s, as a social psychologist dedicated to the application of knowl edge, I welcomed our field's emerging interest in the legal system. I have al ways been fascinated by jury trials-something about the idea that two con ceptions of the truth were in irrevocable conflict and jurors could choose only one of them. More important, the criminal justice system is a major social force that has been ignored by social psychologists for most of the twentieth century. As I systematically began to explore the applications of social psycho logical concepts to the law 20 years ago, I experienced the delight of discovery similar to that of a child under a Christmas tree. It has been satisfying to be among the cohort of researchers who have studied the legal system, especially trial juries, from a psychological perspective. I believe we have learned much that would be useful if the system were to be revised. Hlf the system were to be revised" . . . there's the rub. As I have stated, my original motivation was the application of knowledge. Like other social scien tists, I believed-perhaps arrogantly-that the results of our research efforts could be used to make trial juries operate with more efficiency, accuracy, and satisfaction. Qver the last two decades, much knowledge has accumulated. How can we put this knowledge to work? Judges are the gatekeepers of the legal system.
 

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Contents

How Do Judges Decide?
1
Opinion Formation and Expression
27
Attempts to Influence Judges
57
The Role of the Chief Justice
83
Responses to Influence
105
History of the PsychologyLaw Relationship
125
THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATIONS
149
THE APAs AMICUS ATTEMPTS TO INFLUENCE THE SUPREME COURT
169
Unsuccessful Attempts to Influence the Court
193
The Future of the PsychologyLaw Relationship
213
References
227
Name Index
243
Copyright

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