30 September 2021 – Webinar

A risk-based approach to cognitive bias in forensic science

Date: Thursday 30 Sep 2021, 10:00 to 12:00 SAST.

Speaker: Andrew Camilleri, Assistant Director Science & Support at Forensic Science, South Australia

Link to bio: https://au.linkedin.com/in/andrew-camilleri-8a603481

The potential impact of cognitive bias in forensic science has instigated much discussion and debate between academics, scientists and those in the justice sector over the last decade. Forensic science organisations have done little to mitigate the impact of bias, despite evidence suggesting that subjective decision-making in forensic science is impacted by cognitive bias.

A working party at Forensic Science SA (FSSA), an Australian multi-discipline forensic science organisation, has assessed the potential impact of cognitive bias on decision-making, using a risk management framework. A total of 32 risks were identified with three risks above the risk tolerance of FSSA. These risks had treatments proposed to attempt to mitigate against the risk occurring. The remaining 29 risks were within the risk tolerance of FSSA but, where treatments could reduce the likelihood of the risk occurring, they were also considered for implementation. The treatments resulted in 13 recommendations from the working party to reduce the risk posed by cognitive bias at FSSA.

This is the first use of a risk management tool to contextualise the impact of potential cognitive bias in forensic science. It demonstrates that there is limited benefit for the organisation in introducing resource hungry measures, as postulated in the literature. The use of this methodology has ensured that there is an appropriate balance between risk and return when introducing measures to limit the impact of cognitive bias.

This presentation will work through the risk assessment process undertaken and provide guidance on applying it to any subjective decision-making in forensic science.

Webinar Registration

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