Response or Comment
Professor Elliott raises two questions about the American Psychological Association's practice of submitting amicus briefs to the courts. First, are our data sufficiently valid, consistent, and generalizable to be applicable to the real world issues? Second, are amicus briefs adequate to communicate scientific findings? The first of these is not a general question, but must be addressed anew each time the Association considers a new issue. An evaluation of the quality and sufficiency of scientific knowledge about racial discrimination, for example, tells us nothing at all about the quality and sufficiency of scientific knowledge about sexual abuse. "Are the data adequate?" is an ad hoc question. It only becomes a general question if an attempt is made to propose general standards of adequacy. The second question-Are amicus briefs adequate to communicate scientific findings is a general question, and it is this question that Professor Elliott claims to address.
Ellsworth, Phoebe C. "To Tell What We Know Or Wait For Godot?" Law & Hum. Behav. 15, no. 1 (1991): 77-90.