Understanding and Mitigating Bias in Forensic Evaluation

Minimizing Bias in Forensic Decision Making Training

A new article in press in the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health written by Professors Patricia Zapf & Itiel Dror examines the ways in which bias can interfere with forensic evaluation.

Zapf, P. A., & Dror, I. E. (in press). Understanding and mitigating bias in forensic evaluation: Lessons from forensic science. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health.


Research and commentary have emerged in the last decade surrounding cognitive bias in forensic examinations, both with respect to various domains within forensic science as well as with respect to forensic psychology. Indeed, in 2009 the National Research Council (NRC) issued a 352-page report entitled, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward that delineated several weaknesses within the various forensic science domains and proposed a series of reforms to improve the issue of reliability within the forensic sciences. Since the NRC report various commentators have written about the impact of cognitive biases in the forensic sciences and have proposed solutions to mitigate the impact of these biases. The purpose of this paper is to examine and consider the various influences that can bias observations and inferences in forensic evaluation and to apply what we know from forensic science to propose possible solutions to these problems.

Training in Minimizing Bias in Forensic Decision Making

This self-paced, online training program is presented by Dr. Itiel Dror and focuses on Minimizing bias in Forensic Decision Making. The program covers brain and cognitive issues relating to bias and cognitive processing, and then connects the cognitive science issues to practical and specific issues in forensic decision making. In addition to knowledge about the cognitive factors in forensic decision making, the program also provides practical solutions to address weaknesses as well as best practices to enhance forensic practices.


Specific application to forensic mental health evaluation is provided through engaging discussions between Dr. Dror and Dr. Patricia Zapf, a forensic psychologist and expert in best practices in forensic mental health evaluation. In addition, Dr. Zapf provides elaboration on how the factors discussed by Dr. Dror are applicable to forensic mental health evaluation.