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Pretrial publicity and juror age affect mock-juror decision making

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Abstract:

We explored the effects of pretrial publicity (PTP) and juror age on decision making and source memory. Mock jurors read news articles containing negative PTP, positive PTP, or unrelated stories. One week later they viewed a murder trial, made decisions about guilt, and completed a source memory test. We found that only positive PTP had a significant effect on older jurors' verdicts and impressions (positivity effect); while only negative PTP had a significant effect on younger jurors' verdicts (negativity effect). PTP and juror age had significant effects on accurate source memory judgments (accurately attributing trial information to the trial) with older jurors and those exposed to PTP being less accurate. Only PTP had a significant effect on jurors' critical source memory errors (misattributing information in the PTP to the trial or both the trial and the PTP) with those exposed to negative PTP making more of these errors than jurors in the other PTP conditions.

Keywords: age; cognitive distortions; juror decision making; memory; pretrial juror bias

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1068316X.2011.616509

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology,University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee, Sarasota, USA 2: School of Aging Studies,University of South Florida, Tampa, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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