Reaching a Verdict; Persuading a Jury

The persuading a jury section of "Reaching a Jury" in flashcards. Psychology A2 OCR 

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Murdock found that participants recalls words from the beginning of a list which has been established as the primacy effect rather than the middle of a list. This can be related to persuading a jury as jurours will listen attentively to the prosecution but later on will lose focus on the defence speaks. This suggests that the prosecution has a bigger advantage over the defence. 

Glanzer & Clutiz, a similar experiment but the participants had a interruption task before recall , which lead to an increase in Primacy Effect. This can be relatable to the persuading a jury as it shows that altough the defence closes last, this is followed by the judge's instruction which could reduce the chances of thhe regency effect. 

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Pennington & Hastie

Pennington & Hastie; 

They investigated whether or not story evidence summaries are true causes of the final verdict decesions and the extent to which story of which story order affects confiedence in those decisions.  There was 130 students from the Northwestern University and Chicago University who were allocated to the four conditions  and listened to a recorded trial which was fictional but was adapted from a real trial. 

  • CONDITION A - story story 59% guilty rate
  • CONDITION B    witness witness   63% guilty rate
  • CONDITION C  story witness  31% gulitly rate 
  • CONDITION D witness story 78% guilty rate

This means that if presented in story order which meant that it was easier to remember as it was in chronological order which shows that the Primacy Effect did not a major impact on the results. Because the primacy and regency effects were controlled for, Pennington & Hastie are confident that they have shown the persuasive effect of presenting information in story order 

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Barristers are not allowed to ask leading questions or to put words into the mouths of witnesses though there are some methods of perusasion that can be signifcantly effective. What has a significant impact on juries is a expert witness, who by education, training, skill, or experience is believed to have expertise and specialised knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of a average person. 

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They investiagted  the influence on jurors of expert testimony about eyewitness identification. They conducted a laboratory experiment with two experiments, in experiment 1, where participants were allocated to four conditions, half of the particpants read the expert psychological testimony introduced by the defence, half didn't. In the expert tesitmony there was information included about the recognising memebers of  In these conditions, half read out a more violent condition and the other read out a less violent version which recieved less guilty verdicts. Expert testimony lead to a 12% reduction in guilty verdicts. 

In experiment 2, all particpants read the violent version of the crime, and half of the participants read the expert testimony whule others did not. All groups then deliberated for 30 minutes and decided on the verdict. In conclusion, the absence of expert testimony lead to seven juries voting to convict, two to acquit and one failed to reach a verdict. When expert testimony was heard it lowered the conviction rate. 

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Inadmissible Evidence

Admissable evidence is one that can be held up in court and be used to persuade a jury. The opposite of this is inadmissable evidence which cannot be used in court, the three types od the inadmissable evidence are 

  •  Hearsay, gossip, specualtion, rumour and slander. This might predujice but doesn't prove anything. 
  • Prior convictions- letting a jury know of any previous convictions, could lead to them prejudicing against the defendant. 
  • Improper Evidence, this is eveidence gained by illegal means such as phone tapping and hacking a computer, entering somebody's house without a search warrant and carrying out an interview without permission or a solictor  
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They investigated whether the influence of jurors ruled inadmissable by a judge.  There were 236 ball state university psychology students. They listened to audio recording of a fictional trial. A control group didn't hear any inadmissbale evidence,while the other group heard proir convictions. The results showed desipte being instructed to forget the evidnence, the jurors didn't and were more likely to give a guilty verdict. Though the participants filled out a questionnaire afterwards and believed that the proir conviction had not influenced their decesions. In conclusion, the results support the reactance theory,  the jury may react to the order to ignore evidence as they percieve that their freedom to take all evidence into account is undermined 

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