The Judge as a Procedural Decision-Maker Addressing the Disconnect Between Legal Psychology and Legal Practice

Anna Sagana*, D. A. G. van Toor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Despite the abundance of studies exposing heuristic and biased thinking in judicial decision-making, the influence of this empirical work in court is limited. In this commentary, we address this paradox and argue that the disconnect between empirical work and practice stems from the limited knowledge and consideration of procedural rules. These shortcomings increase the skepticism of legal scholars and practitioners of this research and give an excuse for dismissing the findings, deeming them inapplicable in court. We suggest that the only way forward is by diversifying our research methods and by building a culture of collaboration, fostering research partnerships between legal scholars and (legal) decision-making researchers. This approach aims to bridge the gap between legal and social sciences and to promote the impact of empirical studies of the legal system on current legal practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-228
Number of pages3
JournalZeitschrift für Psychologie
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • judicial decision-making
  • cognitive bias
  • legal psychology
  • empirical legal studies

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