عنوان انگلیسی مقاله:
French magistrates perception of the introduction of neuroscientific data in expert reports: Effects on the assessment of the expert’s report and criminal case
ترجمه فارسی عنوان مقاله:
تصور دادرسان فرانسوی از معرفی داده های علوم اعصاب در گزارش های کارشناسی : تأثیرات ارزیابی گزارش کارشناسی و پرونده جنایی
Sciencedirect - Elsevier - Annales medico-psychologiques, 178 (2020) 110-116. doi:10.1016/j.amp.2018.06.009
Vale´ rie Moulin a,*, Jacques Gasser b, Benoit Teste´ c
Objective. – To analyze whether the judge’s perception of the quality, and scientific basis of a psychiatric
expert report of a criminal defendant can vary according to whether or not this evaluation includes
neuroscientific data (a written description of a structural neuroimaging MRI scan) and their effects on
the decisions made by judges. Experimental psychology has demonstrated a number of cognitive effects arising from exposure to neuroscientific explanations and/or neuroimaging data and which may bias
judgments and lead to (mis)interpretations that can affect decisions. This research suggests that
including neuroscience evidence in an expert report may impact they way the report is assessed by nonspecialists,
such as judges, whose work requires them to take into account such reports.
Method. – We conducted a study on 41 French judges in order to determine whether their perceptions
of the expert report (objectivity, reliability, scientific basis, quality, relevance, credibility, and
persuasiveness) and their assessment of risk of recidivism, link between the disorder and offense
and the influence of expert report on their decision-making, vary according to whether or not the
evaluation includes neuroscientific data. The magistrates had to read a clinical case, summarizing an
expertise, with or without neuroscientific data, and then answer various closed (criteria were evaluated
using 7-point Likert-scales) and open-ended questions (asking respondents to indicate the reasons
underlying their Likert-scale responses). Half of the magistrates received report containing
neuroscientific data and the other half a similar report, without this type of data. Quantitative analyses
were carried out to assess the effect of the sample’s characteristics on the responses given and to
compare the results between the two conditions (correlation analyses and Student T). Qualitative
analyses, terminological and thematic, were also carried out.
Results. – Quantitative and qualitative results show that the presence of neuroscience data in an expert
report affects judges’ perceptions of the report and the magistrates’ perceptions of the link between
disorder and offense. The judges considered the expert report including neuroscientific data to be more
relevant, more objective, better quality, and more reliable than the report without such data.
Furthermore, they found the expert’s arguments to be more persuasive and that these arguments had a
greater scientific basis when the report included neuroscientific data than when such data was absent.
Moreover, this phenomenon was stronger in more experienced magistrates than in less experienced
magistrates. The qualitative finding shows a greater ability to recognize shortcomings in expert reports
when they do not contain neuroscience data. The Expert reports including neuroscience data are
perceived as more scientific and objective.
Conclusion. – The presence of neuroscience data in an expert report affects judges’ perceptions of that
report. These effects may be related to cognitive biases described in the literature, in particular the
perceived scientific nature of neuroscience data. If judges are aware of their limits when it comes to
assessing technical data, they appear relatively unaware that scientific data can induce cognitive biases
and thereby affect their perceptions of expert reports.
Keywords: Criminal liability | Evaluation | Justice decision | Magistrate | Neuroscience | Psychiatric expertise