JUN 12 - 14  


The Pitfalls in Forensic Assessments 

and How to Overcome Them


University College London

Dr. Itiel Dror is a cognitive neuroscientist. Interested in the cognitive architecture that underpins expertise, he attained his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1994. His academic work relates to theoretical issues underlying human performance and cognition. Dror's research examines the information processing involved in perception, judgment and decision-making. He has published over 100 research articles, and has been extensively cited in the American National Academy of Sciences Report on Forensic Science. 

Dr. Dror has worked with the U.S. Air Force and in the medical domain, examining expert decision making and error. In the forensic domain he has demonstrated how contextual information can influence judgments and decision making of experts; he has shown that even fingerprint and DNA experts can reach different conclusions when the same evidence is presented within different extraneous contexts.  Dr. Dror has worked with many US forensic laboratories (e.g., FBI, NYPD, LAPD, San Francisco PD) as well as in other countries (e.g., The UK, Netherlands, Finland, Canada, and Australia) in providing training and implementing cognitive best practices in evaluating forensic evidence. Dr. Dror was the Chair of the NIST forensic science human factor group, and is a member of the National Commission on Forensic Science human factor group.

For more information see: http://www.cci-hq.com/dr.-itiel-dror.html  

JUNE 21, 2016

In many domains experts are called upon to provide research and analysis. Their expert judgment and decision making is often regarded as error-free, or at least as being objective and impartial. Drawing from the field of criminal justice, I will present research and evidence from real casework that many different types of psychological contaminations affect experts, including fingerprinting and DNA forensic laboratory decision making. Forensic evaluations are highly impacted (and can be distorted) by irrelevant contextual information or even by the context in which information is presented or obtained. I will articulate the psychological mechanisms by which forensic and other experts make biased and erroneous decisions and describe how this research can assist in identifying such weaknesses and in providing practical ways to mitigate them.

For more information see: http://www.cci-hq.com/forensic-identification.html 

  • Dror, I. E., McCormack, B. M., and Epstein, J. (2015). Cognitive Bias and Its Impact on Expert Witnesses and the Court. The Judges' Journal, 54(4), 8-15. 

  • Dror, I. E. (2015). Cognitive neuroscience in forensic science: Understanding and utilizing the human element. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 370 (1674): 2014-255.

  • Dror, I. E., Thompson, W.C, Meissner, C.A, Kornfield, I., Krane, D, Saks, M. and Risinger, M. (2015). Context Management Toolbox: A Linear Sequential Unmasking (LSU) Approach for Minimizing Cognitive Bias in Forensic Decision Making. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 60 (4), 1111-1112.

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