U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Cognitive Science and the Law

NCJ Number
Trends in Cognitive Sciences Volume: 11 Issue: 3 Dated: 2007 Pages: 111-117
Date Published
7 pages
Since current cognitive-science research addresses the issues that are directly relevant to the connection between normal cognitive functioning and some judicial errors and suggests means by which the false-conviction rate could be reduced, the current article illustrates how this can be achieved by reviewing recent work in two related areas: eyewitness testimony and fingerprint analysis.

Numerous innocent people have been sent to jail based directly or indirectly on normal, but flawed, human perception, memory, and decisionmaking. This article discusses problems in eyewitness testimony and fingerprint analysis. It discusses problems in these areas with reference to specific legal cases and demonstrates how recent findings can be used to address them. The article also discusses how researchers can translate their conclusions into language and ideas that can influence and improve the legal system. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2007