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Role Induced Bias in Court: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Andreas Glöckner

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Christoph Engel

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

Abstract

Criminal procedure is organized as a tournament with predefined roles. We show that assuming the role of a defense counsel or prosecutor leads to role induced bias even if participants are asked to predict a court ruling after they have ceased to act in that role, and if they expect a substantial financial incentive for being accurate. The bias is not removed either if participants are instructed to predict the court ruling in preparation of plea bargaining. In line with parallel constraint satisfaction models for legal decision making, findings indicate that role induced bias is driven by coherence effects (Simon, 2004), that is, systematic information distortions in support of the favored option. This is mainly achieved by downplaying the importance of conflicting evidence. These distortions seem to stabilize interpretations, and people do not correct for this bias. Implications for legal procedure are briefly discussed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2010_37.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2010_37

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Related research

Keywords: Coherence effects; Legal Decision Making; Biases; Parallel Constraint Satisfaction; Intuition;

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Cited by:
  1. Mark Schweizer, 2012. "Comparing Holistic and Atomistic Evaluation of Evidence," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_21, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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