Professor Adam Benforado gave the closing keynote at a National Institute of Justice’s Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium in Arlington, Virginia on Jan. 25.
Benforado discussed the impact of cognitive bias in the work of forensic scientists and best practices for achieving objective results, including the use of computer algorithms to determine guilt or innocence.
“People working in forensic science can be at the forefront of using technology to control for known human biases,” said Benforado, whose 2016 book, “Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice” explored the influence of bias across the spectrum from criminal investigation to prosecution and sentencing.
While forensic scientists typically begin their careers with scientific objectivity, Benforado said, it can erode over time.
“They come in as scientists but lose their bearings working with law enforcement,” Benforado said.
Benforado’s scholarship applies insights from cognitive psychology to law and legal theory. The courses he teaches include Law and Mind Science and The Rights of Children.