Behavioral Science

By learning more about human decision-making in stressful situations, behavioral science can help us identify better ways to deal with the harms created by gun violence and a broken criminal justice system — and can help prevent these harms before they occur.

Behavioral science, which seeks to better understand human decision-making, is helping public safety researchers learn more about why individuals are vulnerable to automatic behaviors during high-stress situations — for example, why an individual might pull a trigger when an argument spirals out of control. Behavioral science gives us a new framework through which to view the consequences of difficult situations. This understanding of “criminal behavior” as “human behavior” gives us new tools we can use to reduce violence and promote justice. 

The Crime Lab is developing and evaluating programs that provide behavioral science-informed training and supports to individuals at-risk of violence involvement as well as former offenders, police officers, prosecutors, judges, and others involved in the criminal justice system. 

Latest Updates

The people’s plan for community safety – even more needed
Op-Ed
Chicago Tribune
May 2024

The people’s plan for community safety – even more needed

Read Crime Lab Faculty Director Jens Ludwig’s latest op-ed arguing that to reduce violence, we should leverage data science to figure out how to get more social good out of what the city is already spending on evidence-based strategies such as community violence intervention programs.

Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons: Can police misconduct be stopped before it starts?
Podcast
WBEZ
May 2024

Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons: Can police misconduct be stopped before it starts?

Crime Lab Senior Research Director Greg Stoddard joins Patrick Smith on WBEZ Reset to discuss results from a new study of an algorithm that can help identify which officers are likely to commit misconduct.

U. of C. study shows cops at high risk of misconduct also at elevated risk for off-duty trouble
Media Mention
Chicago Tribune
May 2024

U. of C. study shows cops at high risk of misconduct also at elevated risk for off-duty trouble

The Chicago Tribune’s Caroline Kubzansky speaks with Crime Lab Senior Research Director Greg Stoddard to discuss results from a new study of an officer support system.