The cognitive underpinnings of bias in forensic mental health evaluations

Tess M.S. Neal, Thomas Grisso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


We integrate multiple domains of psychological science to identify, better understand, and manage the effects of subtle but powerful biases in forensic mental health assessment. This topic is ripe for discussion, as research evidence that challenges our objectivity and credibility garners increased attention both within and outside of psychology. We begin by defining bias and provide rich examples from the judgment and decision-making literature as they might apply to forensic assessment tasks. The cognitive biases we review can help us explain common problems in interpretation and judgment that confront forensic examiners. This leads us to ask (and attempt to answer) how we might use what we know about bias in forensic clinicians' judgment to reduce its negative effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-211
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bias
  • Decision
  • Forensic
  • Judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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