Cognitive bias and human factors

Invited Speaker: Dr Kaye Ballantyne (Vic Police; UTAS; NIFS)

Kaye Ballantyne is the Senior Research & Development Officer within the Office of the Chief Forensic Scientist at Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, an adjunct Senior Researcher in the College of Arts and Law at the University of Tasmania, and is currently on secondment to the Australia New Zealand National Institute of Sciences as a Senior Project Officer. Her research interests include cognitive forensics, validity and risk in forensic science, the development and maintenance of expertise, and evidence interpretation and communication.

Presentation: Cognitive bias and human factors

Although the impact of human factors is increasingly being realised in forensic science, changes in practice are occurring relatively slowly, and are largely focused on protective measures against varying forms of cognitive bias. However, human factors impact in a wide variety of ways across different disciplines, methods and practitioners. Within Australia and New Zealand, human factor issues are being explored in relation to fundamental validity questions, methods of practitioner training and certification, cognitive bias and blinding, fatigue and stress, peer review, reporting methods and the maintenance of expertise. Appropriate attention to and research of how, why and when experts make decisions can assist with increasing the value and effectiveness of forensic science, while minimising the risk of error, miscommunication and inefficient processes.