Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Probability and Inference in Forensic Science

  • Franco TaroniEmail author
  • Alex Biedermann
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_146


Various members of the justice system encounter uncertainty as an inevitable complication in inference and decision-making. Inference relates to the use of incomplete information (typically given by results of scientific examinations) in order to reason about propositions of interest (e.g., whether or not a given individual is the source of an evidential trace). In turn, judges are required to make practical decisions which represent a core aspect of their professional activity (e.g., deciding whether or not a given suspect is to be considered as the source of a given crime-related trace). Both aspects, inference and decision-making, require a logical assistance because unaided human reasoning is known to be liable to bias. From a methodological point of view, these challenges should be approached within a general framework that includes probability and (Bayesian) decision theory.


Since the early 1960s, the forensic science community started to take a more...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminal Justice, Institute of Forensic ScienceUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland