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Effects of Psycholegal Knowledge on Decision-Making by Mock Juries

Description: This study examined the effects of psycholegal knowledge o­n a mock jury decision-making task. Psycholegal knowledge was obtained by completion of a university course o­n psychology and law focusing o­n jury decision-making. It was predicted that psycholegal knowledge would enhance juror competence, motivation, and satisfaction with participation in the legal process. Mock jurors who had taken the course were compared with those who had not. Both groups were shown a videotape of a rape trial and participated in jury deliberations. Jurors trained in psycholegal knowledge voted for acquittal more often than those who were not. Additionally, trained jurors were more satisfied, were more confident that their jury reached a correct verdict, and believed more that their jury's decision was based o­n the evidence presented than did untrained jurors. Content analysis of jury deliberations found that trained jurors were more task oriented and focused o­n relevant evidence than untrained jurors. The feasibility of implementing a juror training program prior to jury service was discussed.

Suggested Citation:
Shaw, J.I., & Skolnick, P. (2005). Effects of Psycholegal Knowledge on Decision-Making by Mock Juries [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 1(2), 90-109.

Keywords: jury decision-making, juror training, legal knowledge, law

Date: Sep 16, 2005 | File Size: 95.41 Kb | Downloads: 2429

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