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Cognitive bias and the order of examination in forensic anthropological non-metric methods: a pilot study

Davidson, M; Nakhaeizadeh, S; Rando, C; (2021) Cognitive bias and the order of examination in forensic anthropological non-metric methods: a pilot study. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 10.1080/00450618.2021.1998625. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Research has established that contextual information has the potential to influence the decisions of examiners in various forensic domains, including forensic anthropology. Studies have demonstrated that the non-metric sex estimation methods are susceptible to issues of cognitive bias, however the different types of stimuli that can influence the decision-making process remain understudied. As forensic anthropologists will examine multiple skeletal elements to estimate the sex of skeletal remains, a pilot study was designed to assess the potential of cognitive bias resulting from the order of examination. Two groups performed a non-metric sex estimation of the innominates and the skull with methods from Standards on one individual complete skeleton. Group A examined the skull first followed by the innominates, while Group B examined the innominates first followed by the skull. Results reveal a significant difference between the two groups in the sex estimation of the innominates and the complete skeleton (p = 0.020 and p = 0.022, respectively). This research demonstrates that order of examination for sex estimation may act as context and potentially influence the subsequent analyses. Additional research is necessary to broaden the understanding of decision-making and aid in the establishment of standard operating procedures designed to mitigate the potential effects of cognitive bias.

Type: Article
Title: Cognitive bias and the order of examination in forensic anthropological non-metric methods: a pilot study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2021.1998625
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00450618.2021.1998625
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Forensic anthropology, biological profile, sex estimation, cognitive bias, decision-making
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139880
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