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Thinking about Evidence1

Lagnado, D; (2013) Thinking about Evidence1. In: Evidence, Inference and Enquiry.

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Abstract

© The British Academy, 2011. All rights reserved. This chapter argues that people reason about legal evidence using small-scale qualitative networks. These cognitive networks are typically qualitative and incomplete, and based on people's causal beliefs about the specifics of the case as well as the workings of the physical and social world in general. A key feature of these networks is their ability to represent qualitative relations between hypotheses and evidence, allowing reasoners to capture the concepts of dependency and relevance critical in legal contexts. In support of this claim, the chapter introduces some novel empirical and formal work on alibi evidence, showing that people's reasoning conforms to the dictates of a qualitative Bayesian model. However, people's inferences do not always conform to Bayesian prescripts. Empirical studies are also discussed in which people over-extend the discredit of one item of evidence to other unrelated items. This bias is explained in terms of the propensity to group positive and negative evidence separately and the use of coherence-based inference mechanisms. It is argued that these cognitive processes are a natural response to deal with the complexity of legal evidence.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Thinking about Evidence1
ISBN-13: 9780197264843
DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264843.003.0007
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/175103
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