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2003

Public Law and Legal Theory

Vanderbilt University Law School

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Tendencies Versus Boundaries: Levels Of Generality In Behavioral Law And Economics, Gregory Mitchell Nov 2003

Tendencies Versus Boundaries: Levels Of Generality In Behavioral Law And Economics, Gregory Mitchell

Vanderbilt Law Review

When evidence on the truth or falsity of a proposition is ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations, psychologists warn about "biased assimilation" of the evidence to support pre-existing theories, beliefs, and attitudes. Therefore, when a skeptic about the public policy implications of psychological research examines the complex mix of evidence on human rationality, he may find much to support his skepticism about the use of psychology to reform the law. Likewise, an optimist about the public policy contributions of psychology may find within this same body of evidence much to bolster his optimistic view that psychological research can be used ...