Article: article from journal or magazin.
Graphical probabilistic analysis of the combination of items of evidence
Law, Probability and Risk
Unlike the evaluation of single items of scientific evidence, the formal study and analysis of the jointevaluation of several distinct items of forensic evidence has to date received some punctual, ratherthan systematic, attention. Questions about the (i) relationships among a set of (usually unobservable)propositions and a set of (observable) items of scientific evidence, (ii) the joint probative valueof a collection of distinct items of evidence as well as (iii) the contribution of each individual itemwithin a given group of pieces of evidence still represent fundamental areas of research. To somedegree, this is remarkable since both, forensic science theory and practice, yet many daily inferencetasks, require the consideration of multiple items if not masses of evidence. A recurrent and particularcomplication that arises in such settings is that the application of probability theory, i.e. the referencemethod for reasoning under uncertainty, becomes increasingly demanding. The present paper takesthis as a starting point and discusses graphical probability models, i.e. Bayesian networks, as frameworkwithin which the joint evaluation of scientific evidence can be approached in some viable way.Based on a review of existing main contributions in this area, the article here aims at presentinginstances of real case studies from the author's institution in order to point out the usefulness andcapacities of Bayesian networks for the probabilistic assessment of the probative value of multipleand interrelated items of evidence. A main emphasis is placed on underlying general patterns of inference,their representation as well as their graphical probabilistic analysis. Attention is also drawnto inferential interactions, such as redundancy, synergy and directional change. These distinguish thejoint evaluation of evidence from assessments of isolated items of evidence. Together, these topicspresent aspects of interest to both, domain experts and recipients of expert information, because theyhave bearing on how multiple items of evidence are meaningfully and appropriately set into context.
Bayesian networks, forensic science, combining items of evidence, likelihood ratio.
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