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Just Science Podcast: Just Human Factors

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages

This website provides access to a podcast in which Tom Busey - whose primary research has focused on the factors that contribute to errors in perceptual decision making in forensics - examines the importance of human factors in fingerprint analysis and interpretation, along with co-host Heidi Eldridge, who discusses the dangers in performing large database searches and the top issues that involve human factors in the forensic laboratory.


The discussion in the podcast focuses on various human factors that can influence the decision as to whether fingerprints are a match. Human factors can include personal biases, level of motivation to solve a particular crime, prejudgments based on conversations with the investigators. And the tendency to confirm decisions made by others involved in the case. The point made in the podcast is that many factors influence and sometimes undermine objective human decisionmaking. The challenge in forensic science training is to prepare those who make subjective judgments to be aware of the human factors that can undermine objective analysis and interpretation and to develop and maintain a scientific approach that gives priority to proven methods for obtaining scientific rigor and accuracy.

Date Published: January 1, 2017