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To lawyers, mindreading conjures up flamboyant images of crystal balls or charlatans. However, it is a deeply serious endeavor for the law. The primary role of fact-finders in civil, criminal, and administrative trials in the United States is to serve as highly-regulated mind readers—to listen to the testimony and decide whether the witnesses are credible and telling the truth. Because it can be so easily biased, we must directly acknowledge how jurors and judges (in addition to voters and employers) automatically and imperfectly read minds. We must remove the “mystique of mindreading,” and see how ordinary assessments of mental states drive legal decision-making. If we want to have any hope of mitigating the psychological biases at play, we cannot continue to pretend that they do not occur.
Brown, Teneille R., "Demystifying Mindreading for the Law" (2022). Utah Law Faculty Scholarship. 353.
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