Persuading a jury

  • Created by: romy kale
  • Created on: 08-10-13 16:00

1.1 the effect of order of the testimony

  • The way that information is recieved affects how it is processed and recalled
  • The primacy-recency effect suggests that what we hear first and last is better remembered than what we hear in the middle 
  • suggests the prosecution will have an advantage over the defence as they always present their case first (primacy)
  • but this may be wiped out as the defence always closes last (recency)
  • Also, how counsel decides to structure their cases is important
  • 'story'- chronological order
  • 'witness'- best witnesses go first and last
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1.2 Persuasion

  • Jurors are open to persuasion
  • especially when expert witnesses are used
  • Petty et al (1986) put forward the Liklihood model
  • suggests peripheral cues may have a greater effect in terms of persuaion especially when the information needed to be processed is complex
  • A peripheral cue could be characteristics such as gender of the expert which could trigger stereotypes that influences jury decisions
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1.3 Effect of evidence being ruled inadmissable

  • Not all evidence can be used in court against the accused
  • two reasons why evidence may not be allowed:

-Since 2004 in uk hearsay and previous convictions can be admissable if judge allows 

-Evidence may not be allowed because of way it is obtained e.g. phone tapping or improperly conducted interviews

  • Judge may give permission for evidence to be used
  • usually because judge has been persuaded by one of lawyers that the evidence is valuble
  • if counsel tries to slip inadmissable evidence to court then judge will direct jury  to disregard the evidence
  • jury will pay more attention to it- Reactance theory
  • feel their free will is jepordised so will take it into consideration more
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Pennington and Hastie

  • Effect of memory structure on judgement
  • Test hypothesis that juries more persuaded by 'story order' than 'witness order'


  • Lab experiment 130 univeristy students, allocated to 4 conditions
  • mock murder trial evidence presented by tape recorder (of real case)
  • written questions about evidnece and told to reach a vedict of guilty/not guilty
  • rate confidence on 5 point scale
  • story order condition= evidence arranged in chronological order
  • witness order= evidence arranged in order closest to real trial


  • story order by prosecution= guilty verdict reached 78% of time
  • Story order by defence= guilty 31% of time
  • ppts were also more confident of verdict when they had heard evidence in story order
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Pennington and Hastie


  • Lawyers use story order- jury more convinced of their side as they have a full version of events and therefore dont need to use schemas to fill in gaps which removes doubt


  • Restricted sample (130 students
  • Biased
  • Useful- controls (tape recorder)
  • Low validity and low Ecological Validity (mock trial)
  • Mundane realism- order closest to real trial, returning a verdict on a real case
  • High quantitative data (no. of guilty not guilty and 5 point scale)
  • Useful- soliciters and lawyers know how best to present evidence
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Mckimmie et al

gender sterotyping and expert witness

investigated the persuasive influence of gender of an expert witness on jury decision making


  • lab experiment- 62 psychology students took part in mock trial
  • randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions based on gender of expert witness
  • cosmetics industry- female orientation auomotive industry- male orientation
  • ppts given name and photo of expert witness and read a transcript of a price fixing trial
  • suggest amount of damages rewarded and rate the credibility of the expert witness used 
  • make individual judgement then enter group deliberations and come to a joint agreement


  • larger damages awarded whne experts gender matched the orientation of job 
  • when cosmetics industry case had a female witness they awarded $90 000 more than when the witness was male
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Mckimmie et al


low bias- randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions

low in reliability- Independant measures design used- only took part in one condition

demand characteristics- 62 psychology students may guess the aim

low validity- mock trial

low ecological validity- mock trial not in a real court

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Pickel et al

Investigating effect of instructions to diregard inadmissable evidence


Population Validity-  236 students used and students are eligable for jury service

Demand characteristics- psychology students guess aim

Low Ecological validity- tape recording of a fictional theft

Restricted sample- 236 psychology students- not generalisable

low reliability- independent measures design- students only took part in one condition

useful- judge needs to be aware of impact of explanations of inadmissable evidence also, soliciters know to bring it in to a trial as it can affect jury decisions

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