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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Disruptive Neuroscience Of Judicial Choice, Anna Spain Bradley Jan 2018

The Disruptive Neuroscience Of Judicial Choice, Anna Spain Bradley

Articles

Scholars of judicial behavior overwhelmingly substantiate the historical presumption that most judges act impartially and independent most of the time. The reality of human behavior, however, says otherwise. Drawing upon untapped evidence from neuroscience, this Article provides a comprehensive evaluation of how bias, emotion, and empathy—all central to human decision-making—are inevitable in judicial choice. The Article offers three novel neuroscientific insights that explain why this inevitability is so. First, because human cognition associated with decision-making involves multiple, and often intersecting, neural regions and circuits, logic and reason are not separate from bias and emotion in the brain. Second ...


Cognitive Competence In Executive-Branch Decision Making, Anna Spain Bradley Jan 2017

Cognitive Competence In Executive-Branch Decision Making, Anna Spain Bradley

Articles

The decisions Presidents and those operating under their authority take determine the course of our nation and the trajectory of our lives. Consequently, understanding who has the power and authority to decide has captured both the attention of legal scholars across a variety of fields for many years and the immediate worry of the public since the 2016 Presidential election. Prevailing interventions look for ways that law can offer procedural and institutional reforms that aim to maintain separation of powers and avoid an authoritarian regime. Yet, these views commonly overlook a fundamental factor and a more human one: the individuals ...


Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Ask And What Shall Ye Receive? A Guide For Using And Interpreting What Jurors Tell Us, Barbara O'Brien, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

We review the extensive body of studies relying on jurors' self-reports in interviews or questionnaires, with a focus on potential threats to validity for researchers seeking to answer particularly provocative questions such as the influence of race in jury decision-making. We then offer a more focused case study comparison of interview and questionnaire data with behavioral data in the domain of race and juror decision-making. Our review suggests that the utility of data obtained from juror interviews and questionnaire responses varies considerably depending on the question under investigation. We close with an evaluation of the types of empirical questions most ...


Legal Reasoning And Scientific Reasoning, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2011

Legal Reasoning And Scientific Reasoning, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

In my presentation for the 2010 Meador Lectures on Rationality, I chose to compare legal reasoning and scientific reasoning. Both law and science pride themselves on the rationality of their intellectual methods and believe that those methods are designed to analyze questions and reach the correct conclusions by means of reason, free from cognitive or emotional biases. Of course, both law and science often fall short of this ideal at all levels, from the decisions about individual legal cases or scientific studies to the acceptance of general theories. In many ways, the biases that mislead legal and scientific thinkers are ...


How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2003

How Much Do We Really Know About Race And Juries? A Review Of Social Science Theory And Research, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The past decade has witnessed numerous high-profile criminal trials in which controversial verdicts have been attributed to racethe race of the defendant, the racial composition of a jury, an attorney "playing the race card," and so on. A predominantly Black jury's acquittal of O.J. Simpson and White jurors' leniency in the police brutality cases of Rodney King and Amadou Diallo not only sparked public debate, but also led to rioting and violence. In the wake of trials such as these, many have questioned the viability of the American jury system.' More specific questions regarding the influence of race ...


Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 2000

Race In The Courtroom: Perceptions Of Guilt And Dispositional Attributions, Samuel R. Sommers, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

The present studies compare the judgments of White and Black mock jurors in interracial trials. In Study 1, the defendant’s race did not influence White college students’ decisions but Black students demonstrated ingroup/outgroup bias in their guilt ratings and attributions for the defendant’s behavior. The aversive nature of modern racism suggests that Whites are motivated to appear nonprejudiced when racial issues are salient; therefore, the race salience of a trial summary was manipulated and given to noncollege students in Study 2. Once again, the defendant’s race did not influence Whites when racial issues were salient. But ...


Sticks And Stones, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1999

Sticks And Stones, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

I believe that research should be refuted by research. More and more of our scarce journal space is being taken up by attacks, rebuttals, and rebuttals to the rebuttals, often ending with a whimper of recognition that the adversaries were not so very far apart to begin with, and that the only way (if possible) to resolve the disagreement is through empirical research. Communication of scientific disagreement does not require a published article. Grant proposals and manuscripts submitted to refereed journals like this one are sent out to reviewers, who provide written evaluations that are communicated to the author. Papers ...


Real Jurors' Understanding Of The Law In Real Cases, Alan Reifman, Spencer M. Gusick, Phoebe C. Ellsworth Jan 1992

Real Jurors' Understanding Of The Law In Real Cases, Alan Reifman, Spencer M. Gusick, Phoebe C. Ellsworth

Articles

A survey of 224 Michigan citizens called for jury duty over a 2-month period was conducted to assess the jurors' comprehension of the law they had been given in the judges' instructions. Citizens who served as jurors were compared with a base line of those who were called for duty but not selected to serve, and with those who served on different kinds of cases. Consistent with previous studies of mock jurors, this study found that actual jurors understand fewer than half of the instructions they receive at trial. Subjects who received judges' instructions performed significantly better than uninstructed subjects ...