Expertise Fails to Attenuate Gendered Biases in Judicial Decision-Making

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Although the influence of gender ideology on lay decision-making has been established, it is not known to what extent expertise may mitigate gendered biases and improve decision-making quality. In a set of controlled experiments, trial court judges and laypeople evaluated a hypothetical child custody case and a hypothetical employment discrimination case. The role of expertise was tested in two ways: by comparing judges’ and laypeople’s decision-making and by examining relative differences in expertise among judges. Judges were no less influenced by litigant gender and by their own gender ideology than the lay sample. Judges with greater subject-matter expertise were also no less influenced by gender ideology than other judges. In some cases, expertise was associated with greater, not less, bias. The results of this study suggest that expertise does not attenuate gendered biases in legal decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • bias
  • decision-making
  • discrimination
  • expertise
  • gender ideology
  • judges

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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