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ELS Lab Meeting – Work in Progress Session

Friday 12 November 2021
Hybrid (online in Teams and in-person in KOG, B2M07)

Topic Work in Progress

Work in Progress sessions involve presentations of work in progress. This can be at any stage of the research process, from the design to writing the actual paper. It is in particular a nice opportunity to receive feedback on empirical ideas and get suggestions on how to improve the methodology.

The topic of this Work in Progress session is the biasing effect of character evidence in legal decision making and procedural justice.

Psychological research has shown that important (moral) judgments and decisions are affected by our evaluations of a protagonist’s moral character. Once we have formed an opinion of someone’s character (consciously or not), these character evaluations can bias our subsequent sense making. In a legal context, it has been shown that important judgments about for example causality and foreseeability can (erroneously) be affected by perceptions of the moral character of a defendant. In this session, Niek Strohmaier and Sofia de Jong will present the research design of their new study that aims to shed further light on the matter. One of the central questions of this paper is whether the introduction of character evidence can bias perceptions of procedural justice in such a way that introducing incriminating character evidence in a legal proceeding is seen as just when the defendant is seen as morally bad, but unjust when the defendant is perceived as morally good. The goal of this session is (1) to introduce attendees to the research topic and methods, and (2) to receive feedback on the design of the studies.

ELS Lab Meetings

The Empirical Legal Studies Lab @Leiden organizes sessions for researchers interested in empirical legal research. Are you looking to learn more about empirical methods and/or engage in lively discussions on ELS? Join the upcoming ELS lab meetings!

Ranging from the informal Lunch & Learn to more in-depth paper discussions, the ELS lab meetings cover a wide range of empirical research methods and ELS-related topics. We offer a possibility to learn about each other’s research and experience, test out ideas and receive feedback on work in progress. You’re welcome to join, regardless of your degree of experience with ELS. Our upcoming sessions are below.

Date                           Session

12 November

Work in Progress
Presentation by Niek Strohmaier and Sofia de Jong on the biasing effect of character evidence in legal decision making and procedural justice

3 December 


Journal Club

Topic: Designing vignette studies – tips and tricks


About ELS Lab @Leiden

Empirical Legal Studies is one of the legal science themes of the Leiden Law School as part of the Law Sector Plan, together with Institutions for Conflict Resolution. The Empirical Legal Studies project receives funding from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) through the multi-year Law Sector Plan. For any questions, please contact Helen Pluut (h.pluut@law.leidenuniv.nl).

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