Naturalistic Decision Making in Forensic Science: Toward a Better Understanding of Decision Making by Forensic Team Leaders
Article first published online: 1 MAR 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 890–897, July 2011
How to Cite
Helsloot, I. and Groenendaal, J. (2011), Naturalistic Decision Making in Forensic Science: Toward a Better Understanding of Decision Making by Forensic Team Leaders. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56: 890–897. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01714.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 1 MAR 2011
- Received 29 Jan. 2010; and in revised form 16 April 2010; accepted 17 April 2010.
- forensic science;
- naturalistic decision making;
- recognition-primed decision making;
- image theory;
- contextual bias
Abstract: This study uses the naturalistic decision-making (NDM) perspective to examine how Dutch forensic team leaders (i.e., the officers in charge of criminal forensic research from the crime scene until the use of laboratory assistance) make decisions in real-life settings and identifies the contextual factors that might influence those decisions. First, a focus group interview was conducted to identify four NDM mechanisms in day-to-day forensic decision making. Second, a serious game was conducted to examine the influence of three of these contextual mechanisms. The results uncovered that forensic team leaders (i) were attracted to obtain further information when more information was initially made available, (ii) were likely to devote more attention to emotionally charged cases, and (iii) used not only forensic evidence in the decision making but also tactical, unverified information of the police inquiry. Interestingly, the measured contextual influences did not deviate significantly from a control group of laypeople.