Mental disorder and legal responsibility: The relevance of stages of decision making



Annemarie Kalis , Gerben Meynen

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

30 March 2014



The paper discusses the relevance of decision-making models for evaluating the impact of mental disorder on legal responsibility. A three-stage model is presented that analyzes decision making in terms of behavioral control. We argue that understanding dysfunctions in each of the three stages of decision making could provide important insights in the relation between mental disorder and legal responsibility. In particular, it is argued that generating options for action constitutes an important but largely ignored stage of the decision-making process, and that dysfunctions in this early stage might undermine the whole process of making decisions (and thus behavioral control) more strongly than dysfunctions in later stages. Lastly, we show how the presented framework could be relevant to the actual psychiatric assessment of a defendant's decision making within the context of an insanity defense.




Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee