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This article introduces a new feature for Court Review, “Social Science Research for (and in) the Courts,” the purpose of which is to summarize recent research on social science topics that judges might encounter. Social science research has a long-standing, and sometimes tense, relationship with the law. Nonetheless, there are signs that the courts’ receptivity to social science research is growing. The fields of psychology and the law and economics and the law have expanded considerably in the last 20 or so years. Because judges are increasingly likely to encounter social science issues, the goal of these columns is to provide “state-of-the-art” research summaries in a non-technical manner.
In contrast to the standard scholarly publication, the columns will not be heavily footnoted, but they will list a handful of relevant sources for further reading. As Court Review is the official journal of the American Judges Association, this inaugural column focuses on an issue that arises frequently in debates about court reform and that is central to discussions of judicial performance—the nature and extent of differences in judge and jury decision making.