Emotion and the law: A framework for inquiry

Richard L. Wiener, Brian H. Bornstein, Amy Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This paper draws on research in social and cognitive psychology to show how theories of judgment and decision making that incorporate decision makers' affective responses apply to legal contexts. It takes 2 widely used models of decision making, the rational actor and lens models, and illustrates their utility for understanding legal judgments by using them to interpret research findings on juror decision making, people's obedience to the law (e.g., paying taxes), and eyewitness memory. The paper concludes with a discussion of the advantages of modifying existing approaches to information processing to include the influence of affect on how legal actors reach judgments about law and legal process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-248
Number of pages18
JournalLaw and human behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion
  • Legal decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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