Pennington and Hastie

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  • Created on: 31-05-12 11:42

Reaching a Verdict – How Psychology Can Inform Behaviour in the Courtroom

Persuading a Jury


1.1 Effect of Order of Testimony


The adversarial system (two sides argue the case infront of the jury and judge) is all about persuading a jury.


The way in which we receive information affects how we process and remember it.


For example, the primary effect which demonstrates that the first words in a list are more likely to be recalled than those in the middle or at the end.


This might have a connection to our arousal level at the start of a task, its uniqueness or how much effort we apply.


Glanzer & Cunitz (1966) – they presented two groups of participants with the same list of words and got one group to recall immediately and the other to have their recall disrupted by counting backwards.


The first group showed better recall of the words at the end of the list whereas the other group retained the primacy effect.


Applied to the courtroom, although the defence closes last, this is followed up by the judges summing up. This may wipe out any recency effect for the defence.


Another factor of importance is how the counsel structures their cases.

·         Should they present




Where are the evaluative issues for this study?

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