Complex legal issues often involve contested facts that require expert knowledge. In such cases, legal decision makers look to experts from fields as diverse as the behavioral, social, biomedical, or physical sciences to help settle disputes.

More Than the Law provides a fascinating and accessible introduction for students and other readers to the ways in which behavioral and social knowledge can and should inform legal decisions, as well as ways in which such knowledge can be misused. Eleven different stories are presented, highlighting major legal decisions such as mandatory testing for drug use in schools, abortion, use of the death penalty, and jury selection, among others.

Chapters include a presentation of each decision and an analysis that critically explores the behavioral and social facts relevant to the case. Through these stories, students will discover the complexities and problems that can result from the application of behavioral science to legal decisions. Behavioral and social science experts will come to understand the special duty they bear to provide legal decision makers with the most accurate information available. And empirical researchers will recognize vast opportunities for research that could have a real impact in the courts, legislatures, and administrative agencies.

This exceptional book fills a gap in the field of legal studies, offering a sophisticated examination of the use of behavioral and social science facts in judicial, legislative, and administrative determinations.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction

I. Behavioral and Social Facts Are Used in Legal Decision Making

  1. Factual Knowledge Is Critical in Legal Decision Making
        Example: Mandatory Testing for Drug Use by Student Athletes
  2. Multiple Sources of Factual Knowledge
        Example: Abortion

II. Why Behavioral and Social Factual Knowledge Is Used

  1. Identifying and Evaluating the Factual Assumptions Underlying Law
        Example: Suggestibility of Child Witnesses
  2. Providing the Law With Factual Knowledge to Help Set Legal Goals
        Example: Workplace Accommodation for Persons With Disabilities
  3. Aiding in the Resolution of Factual Disputes
        Example: Trademark Infringement
  4. Aiding in the Resolution of Factual Disputes Relating to the Constitutionality of a Law
        Example: Denying Female Applicants Entry into State-Supported All-Male Schools
  5. Providing Factual, Educational Knowledge to Aid Legal Decision Making
        Example: Eyewitness Identification

III. Problems Related to the Use of Behavioral and Social Factual Knowledge

  1. Law Refuses to Rely on Relevant Factual Knowledge
        Example: Comprehension of Jury Instructions
  2. Relevant Factual Knowledge Does Not Yet Exist
        Example: Deterring Illegal Police Behavior
  3. Factual Knowledge Presented Is Irrelevant to the Legal Issue
        Example: Discriminatory Impact of the Death Penalty
  4. Factual Research Has Limitations
        Example: Jury Selection


About the Authors