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Scientific Detail and Juror Decision-Making in Capital Scenarios

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By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after

By providing vignettes with manipulated scientific evidence, this research examined if including more or less scientific detail affected decision-making in regards to the death penalty. Participants were randomly assigned one of the two manipulations (less science and more science) after reading a short scenario introducing the mock capital trial and their role as jury members. Survey respondents were told that a jury had previously found the defendant guilty and they would now deliberate the appropriate punishment. Before being exposed to the manipulation, respondents answered questions pertaining to their prior belief in the death penalty, as well as their level of support of procedural justice and science. These questions provided a baseline to compare to their sentencing decision. Participants were then asked what sentence they would impose \u2014 life in prison or death \u2014 and how the fMRI evidence presented by an expert witness for the defense affected their decision. Both quantitative and qualitative measures were used to identify how the level of scientific detail affected their decision. Our intended predictor variable (level of scientific detail) did not affect juror decision-making. In fact, the qualitative results revealed a variety of interpretations of the scientific evidence used both in favor of death and in favor of life. When looking at what did predict juror decision-making, gender, prior belief in the death penalty, and political ideology all were significant predictors. As in previous literature, the fMRI evidence in our study had mixed results with regards to implementation of the death penalty. This held true in both of our manipulations, showing that despite the level of detail in evidence intended for mitigation, jurors with preconceived notions may still disregard the evidence, and some jurors may even view it is aggravating and thus increase the likelihood of a death sentence for a defendant with such brain abnormalities.

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2016-12

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Seeing and believing: examining the role of visualization technology in decision-making about the future

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Images are ubiquitous in communicating complex information about the future. From political messages to extreme weather warnings, they generate understanding, incite action, and inform expectations with real impact today. The future has come into sharp focus in recent years. Issues

Images are ubiquitous in communicating complex information about the future. From political messages to extreme weather warnings, they generate understanding, incite action, and inform expectations with real impact today. The future has come into sharp focus in recent years. Issues like climate change, gene editing, and smart cities are pushing policy makers, scientists, and designers to rethink how society plans and prepares for tomorrow. While academic and practice communities have increasingly turned their gaze toward the future, little attention is paid to how it is depicted and even less to the role visualization technologies play in depicting it. Visualization technologies are those that transform non-visual information into 2D or 3D imagery and generate depictions of certain phenomena, real or perceived. This research helps to fill this gap by examining the role visualization technologies play in how individuals know and make decisions about the future.

This study draws from three phases of research set in the context of urban development, where images of the future are generated by architects and circulated by built environment professionals to affect client and public decision-making. I begin with a systematic review of professional design literature to identify norms related to visualization. I then conduct in-depth interviews with expert architects to draw out how visualization technologies are used to influence client decision-making. I dive into how different tools manage the future and generate different forms of certainty, uncertainty, persuasion, and risk. Complementing the review and interviews is a case study on ASU at Mesa City Center, a development project aimed at revitalizing downtown Mesa, Arizona. Analysis highlights how project-specific visual tools affect decision-making and the role that client imagination and inference play in understanding and preference. This research unpacks the social, technical, and emotional knowledge embedded in visualization technologies and reveals how they affect decision-making. Information about the future is uniquely mediated by each technology with decision-making bound up in larger sociopolitical processes aimed at reducing uncertainty, building trust, and managing expectations. This suggests that the visual tools we use to depict the future are much more dynamic and influential than they are given credit for.

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Date Created
2019