Diversity and forensics: Diversity in hiring is not enough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The current organization of forensic work may induce biases in forensic analysis (Risinger et al., 2002). Such biases may have a differential impact across groups, creating differential bias. We should reorganize forensic work to reduce this bias. The obvious strategy of hiring ethnically diverse forensic workers will not work. 'Us vs. Them' thinking is an important source of differential bias. The definitions of 'Us' and 'Them' are socially conditioned. The current organization of forensic work induces forensic workers to see the police as 'Us' and suspects of any ethnicity as 'Them'. Thus, differential biases in arrests become differential biases in forensic analysis. I argue that my prior proposal for 'competitive self regulation' (Koppl, 2005) would reduce or eliminate differential bias. Competitive self regulation divides forensic work among several, unrelated parties, and hides extraneous, bias-inducing information from forensic analysts. These measures separate forensic workers from the police, reduce their sense of identification with the police, and hide from them the knowledge of what result the police are looking for. My argument builds on a literature on biases, Us vs. Them thinking, and the role of 'coalitional alliances' (Kurzban et al., 2001) in bias formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine, Science and the Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Diversity and forensics: Diversity in hiring is not enough'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this