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The Psychology of Tort Law$
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Jennifer K. Robbennolt and Valerie P. Hans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724941

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724941.001.0001

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A Psychological Perspective on Tort Rules, Tort Cases, and Tort Reform

A Psychological Perspective on Tort Rules, Tort Cases, and Tort Reform

(p.197) Conclusion A Psychological Perspective on Tort Rules, Tort Cases, and Tort Reform
The Psychology of Tort Law

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Valerie P. Hans

NYU Press

This chapter reviews the ways in which a psychological perspective informs an understanding of how plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, judges, and jurors make decisions. It then explores how a psychological analysis of the tort system can contribute to the ongoing debate about tort reform, with psychology offering insight into why notions of frivolous lawsuits and litigiousness have become a common part of the public’s torts nomenclature and how tort reform implicates widely cherished values such as the value of personal responsibility. Finally, the chapter raises a number of questions and topics that deserve further systematic study, including causal reasoning within the adversary system; the impact of psychological heuristics; the interaction of liability, compensatory damages, and punitive damages judgments; settlement processes in mass tort;, and the objectives of tort law.

Keywords:   causal reasoning, damages, frivolous lawsuits, litigiousness, personal responsibility, heuristics, psychological perspective, settlement, tort reform

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