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Coordination and expertise foster legal textualism

Hannikainen, Ivar R; Tobia, Kevin P; de Almeida, Guilherme da FCF; Struchiner, Noel; Kneer, Markus; Bystranowski, Piotr; Dranseika, Vilius; ... Zuradzki, Tomasz; + view all (2022) Coordination and expertise foster legal textualism. roceedings of the National Academy of SciencesOF AMERICA , 119 (44) , Article e2206531119. 10.1073/pnas.2206531119. Green open access

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Abstract

A cross-cultural survey experiment revealed a dominant tendency to rely on a rule’s letter over its spirit when deciding which behaviors violate the rule. This tendency varied markedly across (k = 15) countries, owing to variation in the impact of moral appraisals on judgments of rule violation. Compared with laypeople, legal experts were more inclined to disregard their moral evaluations of the acts altogether and consequently exhibited stronger textualist tendencies. Finally, we evaluated a plausible mechanism for the emergence of textualism: in a two-player coordination game, incentives to coordinate in the absence of communication reinforced participants’ adherence to rules’ literal meaning. Together, these studies (total n = 5,794) help clarify the origins and allure of textualism, especially in the law. Within heterogeneous communities in which members diverge in their moral appraisals involving a rule’s purpose, the rule’s literal meaning provides a clear focal point—an identifiable point of agreement enabling coordinated interpretation among citizens, lawmakers, and judges.

Type: Article
Title: Coordination and expertise foster legal textualism
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2206531119
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2206531119
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, moral judgment, legal decision making, coordination, cross-cultural research, LAW, CAUSAL, PUNISHMENT, POSITIVISM, FRAMEWORK, SELECTION, SPIRIT, CRIME
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176209
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