44 Law & Psychol. Rev. 61 (2019-2020)
Death by Expert: Cognitive Bias in the Diagnosis of Mild Intellectual Disability

handle is hein.journals/lpsyr44 and id is 73 raw text is: 







                          DEATH BY EXPERT:
    COGNITIVE BIAS IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF MILD INTELLECTUAL
                               DISABILITY

                         Amelia  Courtney  Hritz*
                           Sheri Lynn Johnson
                             John H. Blume***

Abstract:  In Atkins v.  Virginia, the Supreme  Court  held that executing
individuals with intellectual disability violates the Constitution. Due to this
categorical exemption,   the accuracy   and  reliability of an intellectual
disability determination is literally a matter of life or death. We tested the
influence of context on mild intellectual disability diagnosis in a sample of
179  people  with intellectual disability expertise. We found that experts
diagnosed  intellectual disability at nearly identical rates in death penalty and
disability benefits cases. Men,  Republicans,  and  people  who   believed
intellectual disability is not an excuse for a crime were significantly less
likely to diagnose intellectual disability in both types of cases. These findings
suggest that in this sample, the facts of the crime did not cause the experts to
refrain from diagnosing intellectual disability.

                           TABLE  OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION                            .................................................... 63
I.  COGNITIvE  BIAS IN LEGAL  DECISION  MAKING..................... 66
H.  DIAGNOSING   MID  INTELLECTUAL   DISABILITY.....................70
III. METHODS......................................................78
       A.  Participants                          .....................................78

 Robert B. Kent Public Interest Fellow, Cornell Law School, and Justice 360; Ph.D., Cornell
University, 2018; J.D., Cornell Law School, 2017. The authors wish to thank Maddie
Feldman, Ali Franz, Gina Garrett, and Michelle Morris for their excellent research
assistance. We would also like to thank the participants in the Cornell summer workshop
series for their helpful suggestions and comments. Finally, we are also grateful to Lynn
Marie Johnson at the Cornell Statistical Consulting Unit for her advice.
 James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Public Engagement, and
Assistant Director of the Death Penalty Project, Cornell Law School.
*  Samuel F. Leibowitz Professor of Trial Techniques and Director of the Death Penalty
Project, Cornell Law School.

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