Our basic assumption about the law is that it is designed to operate fairly and openly. But with human beings as the ultimate decision makers, how do we prevent discrimination within the legal arena, and how does the law decide whether others have behaved in a discriminatory manner? Social Consciousness in Legal Decision Making examines four controversial areas involving people's perceptions of others-racial profiling, affirmative action, workplace harassment, and hate speech/hate crime-from the perspectives of psychology, decision theory, and the law. This book's contributing experts raise these critical questions: How valid are legal assumptions about human behavior? What cognitive processes underlie biased behavior? What do personal experience and situational cues contribute to decision making? How do individuals' perceptions of the law influence their judgment? Can psychology help legislators write more effective laws? In answering them, the book: Compares rational, descriptive, and normative decision-making models in legal contexts Provides important insights into legal decision making by non-specialists (police, administrators, jurors) Clarifies and broadens the role of social science in the courts Promotes improved dialogue between the field of psychology and law to create a more socially aware jurisprudence. Social Consciousness in Legal Decision Making invites the legal and psychology communities to work together in solving some of our most pressing social problems.
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