Reaching a Verdict

Reaching a Verdict

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 29-05-12 17:57

Reaching a Verdict - Witness Appeal

Castellow - Reaching a Verdict (Witness Appeal)

Castellow tested the hypothesis that an attractive defendant is less likely to be seen as guilty but the more attractive the victim is then the more the defence is seen as guilty. 71 males and 74 females from East Carolina university took part in the study. It was a lab experiment with participants reading a sexual harassment case and the defendant and victim image was either attractive or not. The DV was whether "do you think Mr Radford is guilty of sexual harassment?" The results showed attractive defendant guilty 56% of the time, and an unattractive defendant guilty 76% of the time. An attractive victim meant the defendant got found guilty 77% and unattractive victim 55%. Therefore proving that looks do matter. 

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Reaching a Verdict - Witness Appeal

PenrodReaching a Verdict (Witness Appeal)

Penrod examined confidence of witnesses that jurors considered when identifying eyewitness evidence. The sample was students and experienced jurors. They were shown a video tape of a mock trial for a robbery, the witness testified that she was either 80% confident or a 100% confident that she had identified the robber. For 100% confidence there was a 67% conviction and for 80% confidence a 60% conviction. Therefore the more confident the witness was the more likely the jury are to believe.

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Reaching a Verdict - Witness Appeal

Ross - Reaching a Verdict (Witness Appeal)

Ross aimed to find out if the use of protective shields and videotape testimony increases a guilty verdict. 300 psychology students took part in the mock trial by transcript and then the 3 versions filmed by actors. In one version a child gave evidence in open court, in another version from behind a screen, and in the final by video link. They were all about a child abuse case and participants had to decide if it was innocent or sexual. There was no significant difference in the three conditions however 58% females found them guilty compared to 38% of males. This shows there is no disadvantage to using shields and video links.

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Reaching a Verdict - Persuading a Jury

Pennington & Hastie  - Reaching a Verdict (Persuading a Jury)

Pennington and Hastie tested 130 students who were paid and put into seperate cubicles and then listened to a tape recording of a trial then answered a questionnaire. In the case Frank admitted to killing Alan. The story is ambiguous and the order of events is crucial. Some participants heard heard story order and others heard witness order. They found that story order produced more guilty verdicts than witness order. 78% for story order prosecution and 31% other way round.

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Reaching a Verdict - Persuading a Jury

Cutler  - Reaching a Verdict (Persuading a Jury)

538 students watched a video tape of a trial of an armed robbery. They then answered a questionnaire. There were four IV's:

Witness identifying conditions

Witness confidence

Form of expert testimony

Expert opinion expressed

They found that a descriptive testimony produced more guilty verdicts and an expert opinion did not affect the jury. They also found the jury was more confident when the witness was more confident.


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Reaching a Verdict - Persuading a Jury

Pickel  - Reaching a Verdict (Persuading a Jury)

256 psychology students. Participants listened to an audio recording of a fictional trial of theft. The mock trail then changes depending on the condition the IV's were:

Judge says evidence is inadmissible

Judge says to ignore it

Judge tells them to ignore and explains why

Controlled condition don't hear the evidence

Participants then filled in a questionnaire with guilty/innocent verdict. They found participants who received no explanation ignored it and reached same verdict as control group. However those who received an explanation did not disregard the evidence.

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Reaching a Verdict - Reaching a Verdict

Hastie  - Reaching a Verdict (Reaching a verdict)

Hastie set up mock juries for a fictional murder trial, he divided the juries into three conditions. One jury had to have a 12:0 verdict, another had to reach a 10:2 verdict and the final 8:4.  All the groups were videotaped and researchers looked for similarities in how all the discussions developed. The concluded that all jury discussions go through three distinct stages:

Orientation - Open discussions/opinions

Open confrontation - Debate turns fierce 

Reconciliation - Pressure drops and things smooth over

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Reaching a Verdict - Reaching a Verdict

Asch  - Reaching a Verdict (Reaching a verdict)

Asch conducted a lab experiment investigating the social pressures from majority groups. He recruited 123 males students. Naive participants went into a room with 7 confederates. Each person had to state which line (A,B,C) was most like the target line. Participants answered last. 18 trails in total and participants gave the wrong answer in 12 trails. 32% of the participants went along and conformed with the majority. This study needs to be applied to how a jury would conform in court.

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Reaching a Verdict - Reaching a Verdict

Moscovichi - Reaching a Verdict (Reaching a verdict)

Moscovichi aimed to see if consistent minority groups could influence a majority. 172 participants with good eyesight took part. In groups of 6 participants were shown 36 slides of different shades of blue. 2 of the 6 participants were confederates. There were two conditions:

Consistent - Blue on all trials 

Inconsistent - Green 24 times and blue 12 times

Participants in consistent called disks green in 8.4% of trials and 32% of participants called a disk green at least once. In the inconsistent group participants called disk green in only 1.3% of trials. He concluded it was important to behave consistent if trying to influence majority.

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