We wanna look at the interaction of empirical and theoretical things.
Slide: Differences between Law and Psychology
Law vs Psychology
1. Stare decisis vs Creativity
Stare decisis: legal term – whatever happened before, has to happen again/will be used to
determine what happens in the future. Ex: man slaughter defendant got 2 yrs in prison, a
future man slaughter defendant will also/should get 2 yrs in prison. Basically, the only time
that the second defendant will also get 2 yrs in prison, will be if the crime is the exact same.
Creativity: psychology is supposed to be about doing something new. That being said, youre
prob not gonn be doing something brand new bc (talking about proposal), we can never do
something that is 100% brand new bc we will be basing off previous research.
2. Hierarchical vs Empirical
Hierarchical: federal level law all provinces are bound by that. So it goes top to bottom.
Therefore we can appeal to higher courts: if the higher court goes with it then the lower one
has to go with it
Empirical: if the data/empirical results doesn’t go with it then we have to change our
3. Adversarial vs Experimental
Aversarial: one lawyer vs the other – whoever debates the best wins. It is kind of a
Experimental: psychology contrasts this. Experimental and empirical results are objective
we want to really get to the full on truth.
4. Prescriptive vs Descriptive
Prescriptive: law tells you what to do
Descriptive: “why are people acting that way? Lets describe it” or like predicting people’s
behavior because of previous data.
5. Idiographic vs Nomothetic
Idiographic: based on an individual or specifics.
Nomothetic: we base everything on general principles “in general people act like this…”
6. Certainty vs Probablistic
Certainty: law is certain. “Is the person guilty or not” all or nothing
Probablistic: example in a survey if someone gets 60% guilty, then it’s over 50% therefore
they must be guilty. We have extra info that we can correlate
7. Reactive vs Proactive
Reactive: law is reactive ex: we create laws as we go along in reaction to something internet
Proactive: psychology is proactive: whatever you are interested in you can do research on.
8. Operational vs Academic
Operational: applies to real world problems.
Academic: psychology is supposed to be for academic reasons
Psychology of the law
Example: Prejudice in court trials 40 yrs ago vs today
Psychology and the law
Example: victims of rape are very emotional and crying, which 6 months to a year later, is
not very realistic