Factual and Affective/Evaluative Recall of Pretrial Publicity: Their Relative Influence on Juror Reasoning and Verdict in a Simulated Fraud Trial1


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    The research was supported by ESRC Grant No. R 000 22 1623. The authors thank Andrea Ackland for her assistance in carrying out these studies and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier draft.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Terry M. Honess, Department of Psychology, City University, Northampton Square, London EC lV OHB, England. E-mail: T.M.Honess@city.ac.uk


This study investigated the relationship between recall of real-life pretrial publicity (PTP) in a high-profile fraud case and subsequent reasoning about the trial evidence and verdict decisions. Tracking the reasoning and verdict judgments of 50 mock jurors during a video simulation of the trial material, the effect of factual recall of PTP was compared with recall indicating an affective or evaluative response from the PTP. Affective/evaluative recall, but not factual recall, was significantly associated with anti-defendant reasoning and confidence in guilt. This effect was partially mediated by reasoning developed during the course of evidence presentation. The potentially prejudicial effect of affective/evaluative recall of PTP is discussed in terms of it activating an explanatory structure that frames evidence interpretation.