Article: article from journal or magazin.
The database search problem: a question of rational decision making
Forensic Science International
1872-6283 ; 0379-0738
This paper applies probability and decision theory in the graphical interface of an influence diagram to study the formal requirements of rationality which justify the individualization of a person found through a database search. The decision-theoretic part of the analysis studies the parameters that a rational decision maker would use to individualize the selected person. The modeling part (in the form of an influence diagram) clarifies the relationships between this decision and the ingredients that make up the database search problem, i.e., the results of the database search and the different pairs of propositions describing whether an individual is at the source of the crime stain. These analyses evaluate the desirability associated with the decision of 'individualizing' (and 'not individualizing'). They point out that this decision is a function of (i) the probability that the individual in question is, in fact, at the source of the crime stain (i.e., the state of nature), and (ii) the decision maker's preferences among the possible consequences of the decision (i.e., the decision maker's loss function). We discuss the relevance and argumentative implications of these insights with respect to recent comments in specialized literature, which suggest points of view that are opposed to the results of our study.
Database search Evidential value Bayesian decision theory Influence diagrams
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