judicial decision making, precedent, cognitive errors, sentencing, procedural justice
Trial court judges play a crucial role in the administration of justice for both criminal and civil matters. Although psychologists have studied juries for many decades, they have paid relatively little attention to judges. Recent writings, however, suggest that there is increasing interest in the psychology of judicial decision making. In this article, I review several selected areas of judicial behavior in which decisions appear to be influenced by psychological dispositions, but I caution that a mature psychology of judging field will need to consider the influence of the bureaucratic court setting in which judges are embedded, judges’ legal training, and the constraints of legal precedent.
Neil Vidmar, The Psychology of Trial Judging, 20 Current Directions in Psychological Science 58-62 (2011)