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Cognitive bias

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz Jan 2021

Fair Questions: A Call And Proposal For Using General Verdicts With Special Interrogatories To Prevent Biased And Unjust Convictions, Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bias and other forms of logical corner-cutting are an unfortunate aspect of criminal jury deliberations. However, the preferred verdict system in the federal courts, the general verdict, does nothing to counter that. Rather, by forcing jurors into a simple binary choice — guilty or not guilty — the general verdict facilitates and encourages such flawed reasoning. Yet the federal courts continue to stick to the general verdict, ironically out of a concern that deviating from it will harm defendants by leading juries to convict.

This Essay calls for a change: expand the use of a special findings verdict, the general verdict with ...


Cognitive Biases, Dark Patterns, And The ‘Privacy Paradox’, Ari Ezra Waldman Jan 2020

Cognitive Biases, Dark Patterns, And The ‘Privacy Paradox’, Ari Ezra Waldman

Articles & Chapters

Scholars and commentators often argue that individuals do not care about their privacy, and that users routinely trade privacy for convenience. This ignores the cognitive biases and design tactics platforms use to manipulate users into disclosing information. This essay highlights some of those cognitive biases – from hyperbolic discounting to the problem of overchoice – and discusses the ways in which platform design can manipulate disclosure. It then explains how current law allows this manipulative and anti-consumer behavior to continue and proposes a new approach to reign in the phenomenon.


Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge For Privacy, Democracy, And National Security, Danielle K. Citron, Robert Chesney Dec 2019

Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge For Privacy, Democracy, And National Security, Danielle K. Citron, Robert Chesney

Faculty Scholarship

Harmful lies are nothing new. But the ability to distort reality has taken an exponential leap forward with “deep fake” technology. This capability makes it possible to create audio and video of real people saying and doing things they never said or did. Machine learning techniques are escalating the technology’s sophistication, making deep fakes ever more realistic and increasingly resistant to detection. Deep-fake technology has characteristics that enable rapid and widespread diffusion, putting it into the hands of both sophisticated and unsophisticated actors. While deep-fake technology will bring with it certain benefits, it also will introduce many harms. The ...


Saliency, Anchors & Frames: A Multicomponent Damages Experiment, Bernard Chao Jan 2019

Saliency, Anchors & Frames: A Multicomponent Damages Experiment, Bernard Chao

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Modern technology products contain thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of different features. Nonetheless, when electronics manufacturers are sued for patent infringement, these suits typically accuse only one feature, or in more complex suits, a handful of features, of actual patent infringement. But damages verdicts often do not reflect the relatively small contribution an individual patent makes to an infringing product. One study observed that verdicts in these types of cases average 9.98% of the price of the entire product. While both courts and commentators have blamed the law of patent damages, the role cognitive biases play in these outsized ...


Behavioral Public Choice And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr Mar 2017

Behavioral Public Choice And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr

Faculty Scholarship

In response to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change and to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan, economists and other climate policy experts have renewed the call for the United States to adopt a carbon tax. Opposition among the public presents a major obstacle. While a majority of the public supports government action on climate change, most people favor the use of “green” subsidies and command-and-control regulations—a fact that frustrates economists of all political stripes who contend that a carbon tax would be much cheaper and more effective. This Article argues that a cognitive ...


Countering The Plaintiff’S Anchor: Jury Simulations To Evaluate Damages Arguments, John Campbell, Bernard Chao, Christopher Robertson, David Yokum Jan 2016

Countering The Plaintiff’S Anchor: Jury Simulations To Evaluate Damages Arguments, John Campbell, Bernard Chao, Christopher Robertson, David Yokum

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Numerous studies have shown that the amount of a juror's damages decision is strongly affected by the number suggested by the plaintiffs attorney, independent of the strength of the actual evidence (a psychological effect known as "anchoring"). For scholars and policymakers, this behavior is worrisome for the legitimacy and accuracy of jury decisions, especially in the domain of non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering). One noted paper even concluded that "the more you ask for, the more you get. " Others believe that the damage demand must pass the "straight-face" test because outlandishly high demands will diminish credibility and ...


Cognitive Bias, The 'Band Of Experts,' And The Anti-Litigation Narrative, Elizabeth G. Thornburg Jan 2016

Cognitive Bias, The 'Band Of Experts,' And The Anti-Litigation Narrative, Elizabeth G. Thornburg

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In December of 2015, yet another set of discovery rule amendments that are designed to limit discovery will go into effect. This article argues that the consistent pattern of discovery retrenchment is no accident. Rather, a combination of forces is at work. The Supreme Court consistently signals its contempt for the discovery process, and the Chief Justice’s pattern of appointments to the Rules Committees skews toward Big Law defense-side lawyers and judges appointed by Republican Presidents. In addition, longstanding corporate media campaigns have created and reinforced an anti-litigation narrative that, through the power of repetition, dominates public discourse. Further ...


Food Policy And Cognitive Bias, Paul F. Campos Jan 2015

Food Policy And Cognitive Bias, Paul F. Campos

Articles

No abstract provided.


Flawed Coalitions And The Politics Of Crime, David Jaros May 2014

Flawed Coalitions And The Politics Of Crime, David Jaros

All Faculty Scholarship

Bipartisanship can be dangerous. In the late 1970s, liberal and conservative forces united to discard two centuries of federal sentencing practice and usher in an era of fixed guidelines that would reshape the criminal justice landscape. In the decades that followed, liberals would come to bitterly regret their alliance with conservative sentencing reformers. The guideline regime established by the Sentencing Reform Act ultimately advanced hardline conservative criminal justice goals that were antithetical to the objectives of many of the Act’s former liberal supporters.

Researchers have shown that a particular cognitive bias — cultural cognition — can explain why intense partisan conflicts ...


When, And How, Should Cognitive Bias Matter To Law, Govind Persad Jan 2014

When, And How, Should Cognitive Bias Matter To Law, Govind Persad

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Recent work in the behavioral sciences asserts that we are subject to a variety of cognitive biases. For example, we mourn losses more than we prize equivalently sized gains; we are more inclined to believe something if it matches our previous beliefs; and we even relate more warmly or coldly to others depending on whether the coffee cup we are holding is warm or cold. Drawing on this work, case law and legal scholarship have asserted that we have reason to select legal norms, or revise existing norms, so as to eliminate the influence of these and other cognitive biases ...


Judging Similarity, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Irina D. Manta, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2014

Judging Similarity, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Irina D. Manta, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Copyright law’s requirement of substantial similarity requires a court to satisfy itself that a defendant’s copying, even when shown to exist as a factual matter, is quantitatively and qualitatively enough to render it actionable as infringement. By the time a jury reaches the question of substantial similarity, however, the court has usually heard and analyzed a good deal of evidence: about the plaintiff, the defendant, the creativity involved, the process through which the work was created, the reasons for which the work was produced, the defendant’s own creative efforts and behavior, and on occasion the market effects ...


A Revised View Of The Judicial Hunch, Linda L. Berger Jan 2013

A Revised View Of The Judicial Hunch, Linda L. Berger

Scholarly Works

Judicial intuition is misunderstood. Labeled as cognitive bias, it is held responsible for stereotypes of character and credibility. Framed as mental shortcut, it is blamed for overconfident and mistaken predictions. Depicted as flashes of insight, it takes credit for unearned wisdom. The true value of judicial intuition falls somewhere in between. When judges are making judgments about people (he looks trustworthy) or the future (she will be the better parent), the critics are correct: intuition based on past experience may close minds. Once a judge recognizes a familiar pattern in a few details, she may fail to see the whole ...


Facing The Unfaceable: Dealing With Prosecutorial Denial In Postconviction Cases Of Actual Innocence, Aviva A. Orenstein Jan 2011

Facing The Unfaceable: Dealing With Prosecutorial Denial In Postconviction Cases Of Actual Innocence, Aviva A. Orenstein

Articles by Maurer Faculty

As this memorial volume illustrates, Fred Zacharias wrote insightfully on many aspects of the legal profession, covering a wide-range of ethical topics and analyzing many aspects of lawyers’ work. He was interested in the lives of lawyers and believed they owed a duty to society beyond an exclusive focus on individual clients’ interests.

This Article develops a question that intrigued Fred: Prosecutors’ duties postconviction to prisoners who might be innocent. Although Fred wrote about a panoply of questions that arise regarding the prosecutor’s duty to “do justice” after conviction, this Article will address one specific area of concern: how ...


Tontines For The Invincibles: Enticing Low Risks Into The Health-Insurance Pool With An Idea From Insurance History And Behavioral Economics, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman Jan 2010

Tontines For The Invincibles: Enticing Low Risks Into The Health-Insurance Pool With An Idea From Insurance History And Behavioral Economics, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Over one third of the uninsured adults in the U.S. below retirement age are between 19 and 29 years old. Young adults, especially men, often go without insurance, even when buying it is mandatory and sometimes even when it is a low cost employment benefit. This paper proposes a new form of health insurance targeted at this group—the “Young Invincibles”—those who (wrongly) believe that they don’t need health insurance because they won’t get sick. Our proposal offers a cash bonus to those who turn out to be right in their belief that they did not ...


Crises, Congress, And Cognitive Biases: A Critical Examination Of Food And Drug Legislation In The United States, Sharon B. Jacobs Jan 2009

Crises, Congress, And Cognitive Biases: A Critical Examination Of Food And Drug Legislation In The United States, Sharon B. Jacobs

Articles

No abstract provided.


Do Cognitive Biases Affect Adjudication?: A Study Of Labor Arbitrators (With Monica Biernat), Martin H. Malin, Monica Biernat Jan 2008

Do Cognitive Biases Affect Adjudication?: A Study Of Labor Arbitrators (With Monica Biernat), Martin H. Malin, Monica Biernat

All Faculty Scholarship

Labor arbitrators were presented with four cases to decide, each involving a challenge to discipline or discharge of an employee resulting from a work-family conflict. Arbitrators were randomly given versions of the cases in which the gender and one other characteristivc of the employee were varied. The results showed little evidence of direct gender bias in decision-making but did reflect bias against single parents and employees with eldercare, as opposed to childcare, responsibilities. Implications for other adjudicators, including judges, jurors and administrative agency officials are discussed.


Judges As Rulemakers, Emily Sherwin Jul 2006

Judges As Rulemakers, Emily Sherwin

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In Do Cases Make Bad Law?, Frederick Schauer raises some serious questions about the process of judicial lawmaking. Schauer takes issue with the widely held assumption that judge-made law benefits from the court's focus on a particular real-world dispute. Writing with characteristic eloquence, Schauer argues that the need to resolve a concrete dispute does not enhance the ability of judges to craft sound rules, but instead generates cognitive biases that distort judicial development of legal rules.

Schauer's observations about the risks of rulemaking in an adjudicatory setting are very persuasive. Yet his overall assessment of the common law ...


The Equality Paradise: Paradoxes Of The Law's Power To Advance Equality, Marcia L. Mccormick Jan 2006

The Equality Paradise: Paradoxes Of The Law's Power To Advance Equality, Marcia L. Mccormick

All Faculty Scholarship

This paper, written for Texas Wesleyan Law School's Gloucester Conference, ¿Too Pure an Air: Law and the Quest for Freedom, Justice, and Equality,¿ is a brief exploration of a broader project. Every civil rights movement must struggle with how to allocate scarce resources to accomplish the broadest change possible. This paper compares the legal and political strategies of the Black rights movement and the women's rights movement in the United States, comparing both the strategy choices and the results. These two movement followed essentially the same strategies. Where they have attained success and where each has failed demonstrates ...


"Tax Services" As A Trojan Horse In The Auditor Independence Provisions Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Matthew J. Barrett Jan 2004

"Tax Services" As A Trojan Horse In The Auditor Independence Provisions Of Sarbanes-Oxley, Matthew J. Barrett

Journal Articles

This article argues that the failure of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOx) to prohibit auditors for public companies from also providing tax services to audit clients or their executives and selling tax shelters to anyone remains a Trojan horse that threatens both the investing public and the auditing profession. Although SOx enacted several reforms designed to enhance auditor independence, the legislation and implementing regulations that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subsequently promulgated allow an auditor for a publicly traded company to provide tax services to the company as long as the audit committee preapproves the engagement.

As the ...


Judging By Heuristic: Cognitive Illusions In Judicial Decision Making, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich Jan 2002

Judging By Heuristic: Cognitive Illusions In Judicial Decision Making, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The institutional legitmacy of the judiciary depends on the quality of the judgments that judges make. Even the most talented and dedicated judges surely make occasional mistakes, but the public expects judges to avoid making systematic errors that favor particular parties or writing opinions that embed these mistakes into the substantive law. Psychological research on human judgment, however, suggests that this expectation might be unrealistic.