Generalization in Legal Argumentation
Frank Zenker , Christian Dahlman , Sverker Sikström , Lena Wahlberg , Farhan Sarwar
AbstractWhen interpreting a natural language argument that generalizes over a contextually relevant category, audiences are likely to activate the category prototype and transfer its characteristics onto category instances. A generalized argument can thus appear more (respectively less) persuasive than one mentioning a specific category instance, provided the argument’s claim is more (less) warranted for the prototype than for the instance (positive and negative prototype effect). To investigate this effect in legal contexts using mock-scenarios, professional and lay judges at Swedish courts evaluated the persuasiveness of arguments giving a generalized or a specific description of an eyewitness. The generalized version described the witness either as an alcoholintoxicated person or as a child, while the specific version varied both the amount of alcohol consumed (two vs. five glasses of wine) and the child’s age (four vs. 12 years). To investigate the effect of legal expertise on argument selection, moreover, law and social science students evaluate the persuasiveness of both argument versions. Though we observed statistically significant prototype effects as well as expertise effects, results were mixed and sometimes ran counter to normative expectation.
|Journal series||Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, [Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice], ISSN 2473-2850, e-ISSN 2473-2842, (N/A 20 pkt)|
|Publication size in sheets||0.95|
|Keywords in English||Argumentation; decisionmaking; evidence; expertise effect; generalization; lay judge; legal context; persuasiveness; professional judge; prototype effect|
|Score||= 20.0, 24-02-2020, ArticleFromJournal|
|Publication indicators||: 2018 = 0.521; : 2017 = 0.38 (2) - 2017=0.694 (5)|
* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.