Individual and Group Decisions in Response to a Mock Trial: A Methodological Note1

Authors

  • Mary V. McGuire,

    1. The University of Washington and The Federal Judicial Center
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  • Gordon Bermant

    1. The University of Washington and The Federal Judicial Center
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    • 2

      Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Gordon Bermant, Federal Judicial Center, Dolley Madison House, 1520 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.


  • 1

    Research was conducted while the authors were associated with the Battelle Seattle Research Center. The authors thank William McKinley for his assistance and Neil Vidmar for his comments on an early version of the manuscript.

Abstract

An audiovisual slide-show presentation of a murder trial was used to examine the effects of group deliberations on juror's responses. Sex of defense attorney and race of defendant were systematically varied in the mock trial. Verdicts were assessed immediately following the trial presentation (before group deliberations) and immediately following group deliberations. Neither sex nor race significantly affected distributions of individual juror's predeliberation verdicts. Following group deliberations, however, an effect of attorney's sex emerged in both jury (group) verdicts and in individual, postdeliberation verdicts. Jurors in the male defense attorney conditions were more likely to vote not guilty following deliberations than were jurors in the female defense attorney conditions. This effect is discussed in terms of group shift.

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