Jury decision-making biases and methods to counter them
Version of Record online: 10 JAN 2011
2010 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 133–154, February 2010
How to Cite
Daftary-Kapur, T., Dumas, R. and Penrod, S. D. (2010), Jury decision-making biases and methods to counter them. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 15: 133–154. doi: 10.1348/135532509X465624
- Issue online: 10 JAN 2011
- Version of Record online: 10 JAN 2011
- Received 26 March 2009; revised version received 8 June 2009
Purpose. The objective of this review was to give a broad overview of various biases associated with jury decision making. Specifically we review research on the impact of pretrial publicity, jury instructions, inadmissible evidence, and scientific evidence. This article elucidates various challenges jurors may face across systems around the world and remedies to counter these challenges.
Results. After 50 years of scientific research on juries and juror decision making, there are still many gaps in understanding how factors such as pretrial publicity, inadmissible evidence, scientific evidence, and jury instructions influence juries. At the same time the field has developed a level of appreciation for these problems and is making strives toward understanding them.
Conclusion. Based on this review some conclusions can be drawn regarding the areas of decision making reviewed. Jury instructions: Research shows that jurors have difficulties in understanding pattern instructions, at the same time we have developed some insights into ways instructions can be rewritten to increase comprehensibility. Inadmissible evidence: We are aware of the cognitive effort involved in attempting to disregard evidence but are at this point unclear on how to eliminate the associated problems. Scientific evidence: Research has illuminated the difficulties jurors have with comprehending scientific evidence. Better education of jurors and judges can help to address this issue. Pretrial publicity: The threats posed by pretrial publicity to the defendant's right to a fair trial are clear. At the same time (save change of venue) there is a need to develop cost-effective remedies to help overcome media-induced biases.