Pickel (1995)

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What was the theory behind the study?
Evidence which is ruled 'inadmissible' is giving emphasis in the minds of the jurors ('backfire effect')
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What was the aim of the study?
To look at the effect of prior convictions on verdicts given and to look at the role of the judges instructions when they are followed by a legal explanation
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Describe the participants
236 psychology students from the Ball State University in Indiana, America (It was part of course requirements to participate)
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How were the participants assigned to the four conditions?
Randomly
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What was the research method of the study?
It was an experiment
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What was the design of the study?
Independent measures
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What were the four conditions in the study?
1) Evidence inadmissible as it is suggestive of a bad character 2) They were not given legal reason for the evidence being inadmissible 3) Evidence was allowed 4) Control
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What did the participants listen to?
A mock trial of a fictional theft and 'critical evidence' (the evidence which would potentially be ruled inadmissible)
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What happened after the participants listened to the audiotape?
Evidence was either allowed/objected to/ruled as inadmissible depending on the condition. Participants then filled in a questionnaire
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What did the questionnaire include
The verdict, estimate of probability of guilt, rated credibility of each witness
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For the control condition, what was the percentage of guilty verdicts?
42%
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For the inadmissible - no explanation given condition, what was the percentage of guilty verdicts?
43%
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For the inadmissible - explanation given condition, what was the percentage of guilty verdicts?
55%
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For the admissible condition, what was the percentage of guilty verdicts?
64%
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What was the conclusion of the study?
Calling attention to inadmissible evidence makes it more important to the jury and they then pay more attention to it. They apply their own sense of 'fair play' to decide (results in 'backfire effect')
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Card 2

Front

What was the aim of the study?

Back

To look at the effect of prior convictions on verdicts given and to look at the role of the judges instructions when they are followed by a legal explanation

Card 3

Front

Describe the participants

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

How were the participants assigned to the four conditions?

Back

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Card 5

Front

What was the research method of the study?

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