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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Experimental psychology has become an increasingly reliable and available tool for legal scholars the research of which implicates human behaviour and cognition. This article considers areas of legal scholarship that have used experimental psychology in different ways. These areas include tort law and settlement (e.g. assessing fairness, punishment, and compensation); contracts (e.g. assessing the social, moral, and practical meanings of promissory obligations for ordinary people); dispute resolution, intellectual property, and studies on the differential effects of certain manipulations on different cultural sub-groups. Using these areas as case studies, it is possible to unpack the resonances, implications, and limitations of an experimental psychology approach to legal questions. The article concludes with an example of how experimental psychology has been used to uncover and explain a real-world effect, in this case in the bankruptcy context.

Keywords: experimental psychology, law, legal scholarship, tort law, settlement, contracts, dispute resoluton, intellectual property, bankruptcy

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