The field of forensic science (i.e., science as applied to law) is experiencing a revolution of new technologies and methods. After being connected to several notorious wrongful convictions, leading scientific bodies found many forensic sciences were never properly validated. Further, the errors and uncertainties associated with these practices go well-beyond what scientists long reported to judges and juries.

To address these emerging issues, research is needed to determine how to best present forensic findings to lay judges and juries. This is an interdisciplinary problem – the issues are legal and arise in courts, but they require psychological testing. This research aims to identifies areas of potential misunderstanding and provide solutions to remedy them.

The research builds off a technique developed by CI Chin and will leverage the lab resources of CI Tangen. CI Chin’s recently published study utilising a machine learning algorithm to reliably determine if an author of text was a lawyer or scientist, will be extended to search through existing judicial decisions for potential misunderstandings. In addition, the research empirically tests current methods to present statistics to laypeople, and compares their ability to help laypeople focus on legally relevant. Research outcomes will inform policy and reform of legal processes.