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10 Law & Hum. Behav. 1 (1986)

handle is hein.journals/lwhmbv10 and id is 1 raw text is: Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 10, Nos. 112, 1986

The Experimental Psychologist in Court
The Ethics of Expert Testimony*
Michael McCloskey, Howard Egeth, and
Judith McKennat
This special issue comprises articles by psychologists, legal scholars, and ethicists on the ethics of
expert testimony by experimental psychologists. In it the major ethical questions facing the prospec-
tive expert witness are clarified, and alternative positions on these issues are defined and debated.
Fundamentals of moral reasoning are discussed, and the realities of interaction with a judicial system
that subjects the psychologist to a variety of pressures and limitations are made apparent. The aim is
not to offer final answers to complex ethical questions, but rather to provide a framework within
which the questions can be considered by the individual psychologist.
In recent years it has become increasingly common for psychologists to testify as
expert witnesses in criminal and civil cases. Traditional forms of expert psycho-
logical testimony about the sanity, competency, or dangerousness of particular
individuals have now been joined by testimony on cognitive or social psycholog-
ical processes in people in general. In a criminal case involving an eyewitness
identification of the defendant, a cognitive or social psychologist may be called
by the defense to testify about psychological research on perception and memory
± Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University.
* The conference on ethics of expert testimony by experimental psychologists was supported by
National Science Foundation grant No. ISP-8209940. We thank Rachelle Hollander of the Ethics
and Values in Science and Technology Program, Joe Young of the Memory and Cognitive Processes
Program, and Eric Juengst of the National Endowment for the Humanities for their help in bringing
about the conference.

0147-7307/86/0600-0001$05.00/0 © 1986 Plenum Publishing Corporation

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