UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences


Cognitive issues

Cognitive issues

Human decision-making is fundamental to the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of evidence. Whilst forensic laboratories must calibrate equipment and validate the processes used to generate analytical results in forensic casework, forensic scientists must also consider the interpretative human processes in play at every stage of the forensic process in the decision-making inherent to evaluating evidence. 

Current research

  • Forensic anthropology: establishing the effect of cognitive biases on the evaluation of skeletal remains when establishing a biological profile, within a range of anthropological methods. 
  • Fingermark analysis: targeting fingermark sufficiency decision making (the process by which a recovered fingermark is assessed to be either of good enough quality to be used for comparison and identification purposes, or to be of too poor a quality to be evidentially useful). 

Research projects

  • Establishing the extent of cognitive issues in the interpretation of forensic evidence within the field of forensic anthropology.
  • Effectiveness of sufficiency decision making in the analysis of fingermarks.


Dr Ruth Morgan
Helen Earwaker
Sherry Nakhaeizadeh
Dr Itiel Dror
Dr Adam Harris
Dr Carolyn Rando
Lisa Hall (Metropolitan Police)