Professor’s book looks at science behind jury verdicts

October 11, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

A psychology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has written a book using, in part, scientific research to form a new theory as to how juries reach decisions.

Dennis Devine’s book, “Jury Decision Making: The State of the Science,” takes a look at two levels of decision making – the individual juror and the jury as a whole. In his integrative theory, Devine explores the “director’s cut” model for individual jurors, in which jurors create an “edited” version of the facts of each case based on what is the most satisfying and plausible. The jury, on the other hand, utilizes a “story sampling” model, in which jurors enter deliberations with their personal stories and then share them with each other. Other jurors, the individual’s participation in the deliberation discussion, and the personal characteristics of the juror influence the final narrative from which a verdict is made, according to a news release on the new book.

Devine looked at published studies on juries since the 1950s, which have produced various models about the jury process, including the story model and social decision scheme model. The story model proposes that jurors base their decision or verdict on a chronological narrative they create from the evidence. These stories often vary across jurors because of their different backgrounds. The social decision scheme model examines the influence of initial jury votes on how people are swayed to join the majority opinion, the release says.

“Currently, there are some real disconnects between the legal system and the scientific research,” Devine said. “Attorneys value precedent and rationale. This book comes from a scholarly perspective, where we attempt to learn something from the systematic collection of data and use it to better understand this process and improve it in the future.”
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT