January 16, 2008

New book on cutting-edge controversies in psychology-law

Beyond Common Sense: Psychological Science in the Courtroom
Edited by Eugene Borgida and Susan T. Fiske

So many books are pouring out these days on forensic psychology and psychology-law that my first thought was, Do we really need another one? But when I took a look at the contributors and the topics I changed my mind. Why? Because this book focuses on the influences of stereotypes and prejudice, topics too often overlooked.

Says Claude Steele, the Stanford University scholar of stereotype-busting fame:
This world-class collection of scholars and researchers upends our common sense understandings of human prejudice and the law's ability to control it. Yet, just as importantly, it brings to the fore a vastly deeper understanding of these issues. It is more than a state of the art collection. It is a classic collection that, for a long time, will be indispensable to discussions of prejudice and the law, as well as the relationship between science and the public good.
Here's more, from the book's description:
Beyond Common Sense
addresses the many important and controversial issues that arise from the use of psychological and social science in the courtroom.
  • Chapters by leading experts in the field of psychology and law including Elizabeth Loftus, Saul Kassin, Faye Crosby, Alice Eagly, Gary Wells, Louise Fitzgerald, Craig Anderson, and Phoebe Ellswort
  • Each chapter identifies areas of scientific agreement and disagreement, and discusses how psychological science advances an understanding of human behavior beyond what is accessible by common sense
  • The 14 issues addressed include eyewitness identification, gender stereotypes, repressed memories, Affirmative Action, and the death penalty -- among others
  • Commentaries written by 7 leading social science and law scholars discuss key legal and scientific themes that emerge from the science chapters and illustrate how psychological science is or can be used in the courts.