Psychological jurisprudence and the information processing paradigm

Richard L. Wiener, Barbara A. Watts, Dennis P. Stolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to further recent work in the psychology of jurisprudence. After summarizing the value positions that are central to a jurisprudence that emphasizes the role of law in the everyday lives of individuals, we examine the interaction between the tenets of that philosophy and the paradigmatic content of psycholegal research. We propose that one dominant perspective, information processing, assumes that legal actors are imperfect processors of social information and proceeds to document biases and propose ways for the law to minimize shortcomings in human cognition. After summarizing the emerging theory of psychological jurisprudence, we discuss the information processing paradigm in psychology and law, illustrating its contributions with three recent studies. Next, we present an empirical analysis of abstracts from the last 5 years of empirical research to demonstrate that there is a representative body of information processing research in psychology and law. Following this is an in‐depth assessment of a sample of cognitive and social cognitive studies, detailing the scientific and normative issues that make up this literature. Finally, we conclude with some recommendations for jurisprudential theorists and psycholegal researchers which will integrate the philosophy of psychology and law with its empirical underpinnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral sciences & the law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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