The Psychology of Judicial Decision Making

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While scholars in the past several decades have made great progress in explaining what judges do, there remains a certain lack of depth to our understanding. This volume grew from a belief that close examination of the psychological processes underlying judicial decision making can greatly enrich this understanding. The collected essays map ways of incorporating key concepts and findings from psychology into the study of judging. The first section of the book takes as its starting point the fact that judges make many of the same judgments and decisions that ordinary people make and considers how our knowledge about judgment and decision-making in general applies to the case of legal judges. In the second section, chapters focus on the specific tasks that judges perform within a unique social setting and examine the expertise and particular modes of reasoning that judges develop to deal with their tasks in this unique setting. Finally, the third section raises questions about whether and how we can evaluate judicial performance, with implications for the possibility of improving judging through the selection and training of judges and structuring of judicial institutions. Together the essays will foster a better understand how judges make decisions, and open new avenues of inquiry into influences on judicial behavior. Features Part of the American Psychology-Law Society Series An innovative study of the the judicial decision-making process With contributions from leading scholars in the field

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is truly interdisciplinary, with many chapters covering two or three disciplines (law, psychology, and political science). Much of the work shows a solid understanding and appreciation for research in other disciplines...This would be a welcome text to any undergraduate class addressing judicial politics, political psychology, decision making, or one that specifically focuses on the role of judges." — Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195367584
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David E. Klein is Associate Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia.

Gregory Mitchell is Professor of Law and E. James Kelly, Jr.-Class of 1965 Research Professor, University of Virginia School of Law

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Table of Contents

David Klein

Part I: Judges and Human Behavior
Motivation and Judicial Behavior: Expanding the Scope of Inquiry
Lawrence Baum

Multiple Constraint Satisfaction in Judging
Jennifer K. Robbennolt, Robert J. MacCoun, and John M. Darley

Top-Down and Bottom-Up Models of Judicial Reasoning
Brandon L. Bartels

Persuasion in the Decision Making of U.S. Supreme Court Justices
Lawrence S. Wrightsman

Judges as Members of Small Groups
Wendy L. Martinek

The Supreme Court, Social Psychology, and Group Formation
Neal Devins and Will Federspiel

Part II: Judging as Specialized Activity
Is There a Psychology of Judging?
Frederick Schauer

Features of Judicial Reasoning
Emily Sherwin

In Praise of Pedantic Eclecticism: Pitfalls and Opportunities in the Psychology of Judging
Dan Simon

Judges, Expertise, and Analogy
Barbara A. Spellman

Thresholds For Action in Judicial Decisions
Len Dalgleish, James Shanteau and April Park

Every Jury Trial Is a Bench Trial: Judicial Engineering of Jury Disputes
C. K. Rowland, Tina Traficanti, and Erin Vernon

Searching for Constraint in Legal Decision Making
Eileen Braman

Part III: Evaluating and Improving Judging
Evaluating Judges
Gregory Mitchell

Defining Good Judging
Andrew J. Wistrich

Expertise of Court Judges
James Shanteau and Len Dalgleish

Cognitive Style and Judging
Gregory Mitchell and Philip E. Tetlock

Building a Better Judiciary
Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry


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