Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the least biased of them all? Dangers and potential solutions regarding bias in forensic psychological evaluations [2019]

When psychological evaluators are asked to provide their expert opinions in legal proceedings, they are expected to do so in an objective and unbiased way. The statutory requirements regarding the admissibility of expert testimony in many countries often cite objectivity and reliability as standards. However, as is true in many realms of human decision-making, the field of forensic psychological assessment is fraught with bias. In this article, we discuss several lines of research that have investigated bias in forensic psychological evaluations. We also discuss emerging lines of research involving methods to measure and reduce bias. We conclude with a call for structured self-monitoring as an important strategy for forensic evaluators to mitigate bias in their work.

W Neil Gowensmith, Kate E McCallum
South African Journal of Psychology, March 4, 2019