Matching Items (12)

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Credibility in the Courtroom: How Likeable Should an Expert Witness Be?

Description

This study sought to investigate the relation between expert witness likeability and juror judgments of credibility and sentencing. Two actors playing expert witnesses were trained to present themselves as high

This study sought to investigate the relation between expert witness likeability and juror judgments of credibility and sentencing. Two actors playing expert witnesses were trained to present themselves as high and low in likeability in a standard testimony scenario involving capital trial sentencing. The effects of extraversion and gender in mock jurors in attending to expert testimony were also examined. The dependent variables were the perceptions of the witnesses’ credibility and agreement with testimony and the participants were 210 psychology undergraduates. Likeability of expert witnesses was found to be significantly related to judgments of trustworthiness of the experts, but not related to confidence or knowledge of the experts or to the mock juror sentencing decisions. Women participants rated high likeable experts as more credible than low likeable experts; men did not. For men jurors, agreement with testimony increased as extraversion increased. However, for women jurors, agreement with testimony decreased as extraversion increased. The results suggest that likeability can be an important element of source credibility, and that attorneys and trial consultants now have an empirical foundation for addressing likeability as part of witness preparation.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2009

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Online Searches for Jury Selection

Description

The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to trial by an impartial jury. Attorneys are expected to obtain information about potential juror biases and then deselect biased jurors. Social networking

The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to trial by an impartial jury. Attorneys are expected to obtain information about potential juror biases and then deselect biased jurors. Social networking sites may offer useful information about potential jurors. Although some attorneys and trial consultants have begun searching online sources for information about jurors, the privacy rights of potential jurors’ online content has yet to be defined by case law. Two studies explored the issue of possible intrusion into juror privacy. First, an active jury venire was searched for online content. Information was found for 36% of the jurors; however, 94% of the information was found through simple Google searches. Only 6% of the information we found was unique to other sites. We concluded that searching for potential jurors online is feasible, but that systematically searching sites other than Google is generally not an effective search strategy. In our second study we surveyed attorneys, trial consultants, law students, and undergraduate students about ethical and privacy issues in the use of public domain information for jury selection. Participants evidenced concern about the rights of jurors, the rights of the defendant and accuser, and the role of tradition in court processes.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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The Propriety of Preemptory Challenges for Perceived Personality Traits

Description

There is substantial controversy over the extent to which social science should be used in jury selection. Underlying the debate are two competing interests in the make-up of a jury:

There is substantial controversy over the extent to which social science should be used in jury selection. Underlying the debate are two competing interests in the make-up of a jury: a privilege to strike prospective jurors on subjective grounds, which supports scientific jury selection, and a collective interest of citizens to be free from exclusion from jury service, which does not. While the incommensurability of the interests precludes resolution of the controversy in the abstract, specific solutions are possible. Using the example of selection of jurors based upon their respective levels of extraversion, we describe how the competing interests frequently do not apply to concrete cases. In the subsequent analysis, we show that, rhetoric notwithstanding, a normative preference for adhering to tradition and institutional inertia are the primary instrumental considerations for determining whether peremptory challenges based upon personality traits like extraversion ought to be allowed. Consistent with this analysis, we conclude that the practice of striking jurors based upon estimates of such personality traits is appropriate.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Improving the American Juror

Description

The jury is a perfect example of American democracy in action. People convicted of crimes are put before a randomly-selected jury of their peers. This jury consists of people with

The jury is a perfect example of American democracy in action. People convicted of crimes are put before a randomly-selected jury of their peers. This jury consists of people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences without any sort of specialized training. Ideally, this jury is representative of the population and does not have any biases towards the victim or the defendant. They view all evidence, hear all facts, and ultimately decide on a verdict. However, this system does not always create accurate outcomes. Often times and for a number of reasons, jurors are distracted in the courtroom. This can lead to incorrect verdicts, meaning that either guilty people walk free or innocent people are incarcerated. This paper will explore the idea of the distracted juror and ways to minimize these distractions so that the most accurate decision can be made during a trial. It will first examine the statistics behind jury inaccuracies as well as how other countries conduct their jury trials. It will then briefly explore grand juries and their differences between trial juries. This paper will analyze data from a survey conducted at the beginning of the project. It will then provide analyses of some possible reforms. This paper will conclude with how this research could be pursued further, why it should be pursued further, and how jury trials could look in the future.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-12

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How disorder onset controllability moderates the impact of biological arguments on judgments of criminal responsibility

Description

In recent years, the use of biologically based (neurological, neuropsychological, genetic) evidence in criminal trials as support for claims of mental impairments among offenders has increased in popularity. However, research

In recent years, the use of biologically based (neurological, neuropsychological, genetic) evidence in criminal trials as support for claims of mental impairments among offenders has increased in popularity. However, research on how exposure to those arguments affects jury decision-making remains unclear. Specifically, arguments rooted in biology sometimes mitigate and sometimes aggravate judgments of criminal responsibility for mentally ill offenders, and this discrepancy seems to stem from the specific conditions by which that disorder was acquired. The following study’s aim was to uncover the precise mechanism(s) behind this elusive effect. Utilizing a 2x2 between subjects experimental design, participants were presented with a hypothetical crime summary involving an offender with either an onset controllable or uncontrollable mental disorder. Ratings of criminal responsibility and other variables hypothesized to function as mediators were obtained after presentation of a prime supporting either a biologically deterministic or free will argument for human behavior in general. Results indicated that when the defendant’s disorder was the result of the his own actions (onset controllable), a biological prime decreased judgments of criminal responsibility; however, when the disorder was caused by factors out of his control (onset uncontrollable), the prime increased judgments of criminal responsibility. An examination of several possible mechanisms finds the effect mediated by the perception of control the defendant could have had over his own actions at the time of the crime. These results suggest that perceptions of behavioral control are an important contributor to jurors’ formation of criminal responsibility judgments when an offender possesses a mental illness; and arguments advocating a biological basis for human behavior reliably affect blame attribution, suggesting that a societal shift in the perception of free will as a result of increased exposure to biology in general may alter the framework of criminal responsibility judgments.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Opposing experts, relative judgments and the reemergence of the neuroimage bias

Description

There is conflicting evidence regarding whether a biasing effect of neuroscientific evidence exists. Early research warned of such bias, but more recent papers dispute such claims, with some suggesting a

There is conflicting evidence regarding whether a biasing effect of neuroscientific evidence exists. Early research warned of such bias, but more recent papers dispute such claims, with some suggesting a bias only occurs in situations of relative judgment, but not in situations of absolute judgment. The current studies examined the neuroimage bias within both criminal and civil court case contexts, specifically exploring if a bias is dependent on the context in which the neuroimage evidence is presented (i.e. a single expert vs. opposing experts). In the first experiment 408 participants read a criminal court case summary in which either one expert witness testified (absolute judgment) or two experts testified (relative judgment). The experts presented neurological evidence in the form of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data and the evidence type varied between a brain image and a graph. A neuroimage bias was found, in that jurors who were exposed to two experts were more punitive when the prosecution presented the image and less punitive when the defense did. In the second experiment 240 participants read a summary of a civil court case in which either a single expert witness testified or two experts testified. The experts presented fMRI data to support or refute a claim of chronic pain and the evidence type again varied between image and graph. The expected neuroimage bias was not found, in that jurors were more likely to find in favor of the plaintiff when either side proffered the image, but more likely to find for the defense when only graphs were offered by the experts. These findings suggest that the introduction of neuroimages as evidence may affect jurors punitiveness in criminal cases, as well as liability decisions in civil cases and overall serves to illustrate that the influence of neuroscientific information on legal decision makers is more complex than originally thought.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The impact of recanted false confession types and clarified instructions on jury decision making

Description

A substantial amount of research has been dedicated to understanding how and why innocent people confess to crimes that they did not commit. Unfortunately, false confessions occur even with the

A substantial amount of research has been dedicated to understanding how and why innocent people confess to crimes that they did not commit. Unfortunately, false confessions occur even with the best possible interrogation practices. This study aimed to examine how different types of false confession (voluntary, compliance, and internalization) and the use of jury instructions specific to confessions influences jurors’ verdicts. A sample of 414 participants read a criminal trial case summary that presented one of four reasons why the defendant falsely confessed followed by either the standard jury instruction for confessions or a clarified version. Afterwards, participants completed several items assessing the perceived guilt of the defendant, their attitudes on confessions in general, and their opinions on jury instructions. Although the three confession reasons did not differ among one another, jurors who were given no explanation for the false confession tended to more harshly judge the defendant. Further, the clarified jury instructions did not influence the participants’ judgments. Future research should focus on how expert witness testimonies affect verdicts regarding each type of false confession reason and whether the media may influence a juror’s knowledge of factors that could provoke false confessions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Partitioning responsibility: the influence of cultural differences in social attributions on jurors' division of responsibility in a negligent tort context

Description

Research at the intersection of psychology and law has demonstrated that juror decision-making is subject to many cognitive biases, however, it fails to consider the influence of culturally derived cognitive

Research at the intersection of psychology and law has demonstrated that juror decision-making is subject to many cognitive biases, however, it fails to consider the influence of culturally derived cognitive biases. As jurors become increasingly demographically and culturally diverse it is possible—and even likely—that their attributions might vary because of their cultural background. I predict that cultural and demographic group affiliation affects attributional tendencies such that, compared to situationally focused individuals (those from East Asian cultures, women, those from lower socioeconomic status groups, and older individuals), dispositionally focused individuals (those from Western cultures, men, those from higher socioeconomic status groups, and younger individuals) are less likely to attribute some portion of causation and responsibility for the harm to other influences, and they are more likely to find the defendant liable and hold the defendant financially responsible to a greater degree. This dissertation has three aims: (1) to examine how culturally derived attributional tendencies influence jurors' assessments of causation in complex negligent tort cases where there are multiple causal influences (i.e., multiple tortfeasors and plaintiff negligence) (Studies 1 and 2); (2) to study the implications of those causal determinations on liability determinations, damage awards, and other legal decisions (Studies 1 and 2); and (3) to determine whether these culturally derived attributional tendencies are malleable, suggesting an intervention that might be used to attenuate the influence of attributional tendencies in a trial setting (Study 3). This work advances psychological research on cultural differences in attribution by exploring attributional differences in a new domain, developing a new scale of individual differences in attributional tendencies, and examining how multiple causal influences affects culturally derived attributional tendencies and downstream decision-making.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The effects of facility animals in the courtroom on juror decision-making

Description

Courthouse dogs (sometimes referred to as facility animals) are expertly trained canines which may be used to assist individuals with psychological, emotional, or physical difficulties in a myriad of courtroom

Courthouse dogs (sometimes referred to as facility animals) are expertly trained canines which may be used to assist individuals with psychological, emotional, or physical difficulties in a myriad of courtroom situations. While these animals are increasingly used to assist young witness to court, the jury is still out on whether or not they are prejudicial to the defendant. No known research exists in this area, although research is necessary to determine the possibly prejudicial nature of these animals. Using a mock trial paradigm involving a child sexual abuse case, the current study employed a 2 (Witness type: victim vs. bystander) x 3 (Innovation type: courthouse dog vs. teddy bear vs. none) fully-crossed factorial design. It was hypothesized that witness type and innovation type would interact to differentially impact jurors' judgments about the trial, defendant, and child witness. In addition, it was posited that emotions, such as anger and disgust, would also affect judgments and decision-making. Results indicate that courthouse dogs and comfort toys did impact jurors' decision making in some ways. In addition, emotions and witness credibility predicted sentencing, verdict, and other trial judgments.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Do people perceive juvenile sex offenders who are gay and Christian as hypocrites?: social identity theory and dual identity defendants

Description

This study investigates the presence of a dual identity defendant, and how sharing an in-group can create a judgment bias. A sample of 256 participants was used to test whether

This study investigates the presence of a dual identity defendant, and how sharing an in-group can create a judgment bias. A sample of 256 participants was used to test whether there was a relationship between judgment punitiveness, perceptions of shared identity, hypocrisy and the social identities (religion and sexual orientation) of the participants and a defendant charges with a sexual offence. Results suggest that Christian participants selected more punitive outcomes for the defendant compared to non-Christian participants. Further, participants were more punitive when the defendant was gay compared to when the defendant was heterosexual. Also, when the defendant was straight there was a stronger feeling of similarity between the participants and defendant compared to when the defendant was gay, and non-Christian participants had a stronger feeling of closeness to the defendant compared to Christian participants. There was a significant interaction found, suggesting that when the defendant was Christian and gay he was seen as more hypocritical compared to when he was Christian and straight; there was no interaction when the defendant was not Christian. These findings should aid in future research and a better understanding of how dual identity defendants are perceived in the courtroom.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014