Individual Differences in Attitudes Relevant to Juror Decision Making: Development and Validation of the Pretrial Juror Attitude Questionnaire (PJAQ)1

Authors


  • 1

    Portions of this paper were presented at the 15th annual convention of the American Psychological Society, Atlanta, GA, June 2003. This study was supported in part by a UNCW Cahill Grant. The authors give special thanks to Larry Wrightsman for his comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The authors also thank Jessica Snowden, Dustin Morris, Katherine Gorbe, Kelly Harmon, Richard Alford, Catherine Wheeler, Crystal Denning, Lindsay Littell, Andy Robertson, Holly Williamson, Jaime Suggs, Tara Langdon, Amy Hine, and Jennifer Hanlon for their assistance with several years of data collection and theoretical discussion.

Len Lecci, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina–Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28403–5612. E-mail: leccil@uncw.edu

Abstract

This study involves scale development using theoretically derived items from previous measures and a lay consensual approach for generating new items. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to validate the emergent constructs assessing individual differences in attitudes of prospective jurors. Using case summaries, the Pretrial Juror Attitude Questionnaire (PJAQ) demonstrates superior predictive validity over commonly employed measures of pretrial bias. The PJAQ confirms the importance of theoretically derived constructs assessed by other scales and introduces new constructs to the jury decision-making literature. The attitudes assessed by the PJAQ are conviction proneness, system confidence, cynicism toward the defense, racial bias, social justice, and innate criminality. Implications for assessing such attitudes and for better understanding the decision-making process of jurors are discussed.

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