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Type: Journal article
Title: The legal and scientific challenge of black box expertise
Author: Searston, R.A.
Chin, J.M.
Citation: The University of Queensland Law Journal, 2019; 38(2):237-260
Publisher: Center for Open Science
Issue Date: 2019
Statement of
Rachel A. Searston and Jason M. Chin
Abstract: Legal commentators widely agree that forensic examiners should articulate the reasons for their opinions. However, findings from cognitive science strongly suggest that people have little insight into the information they rely on to make decisions. And as individuals gain expertise, they rely more on cognitive shortcuts that are not directly accessible through introspection. That is to say, the expert’s mind is a black box — both to the expert and to the trier of fact. This article focuses on black box expertise in the context of forensic examiners who interpret visual pattern evidence (eg fingerprints). The authors review black box expertise through the lens of cognitive scientific research. They then suggest that the black box nature of this expertise strains common law admissibility rules and trial safeguards.
Description: Preprint DOI:
Rights: Copyright of articles published in the University of Queensland Law Journal is vested jointly in the Journal and the contributor. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part may be reproduced without written permission.
RMID: 1000029028
DOI: 10.31234/
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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