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NCJ Number: 51493 Find in a Library
Title: THREE IMAGES OF THE TRIAL - THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH (FROM PSYCHOLOGY IN THE LEGAL PROCESS, 1977, BY BRUCE D SALES - SEE NCJ-51491)
Author(s): G R MILLER; J F BOSTER
Corporate Author: Spectrum Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Spectrum Publications, Inc
Jamaica, NY 11432
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IMAGES OF THE TRIAL AS A RATIONAL, RULE-GOVERNED EVENT, AS A TEST OF CREDIBILITY, AND AS A CONFLICT-RESOLVING RITUAL ARE EXAMINED FOR THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR PSYCHOLEGAL RESEARCH PRIORITIES.
Abstract: LEGAL PROFESSIONALS HAVE DIFFERING IMAGES OF THE TRIAL PROCESS AND OF THE MAJOR FUNCTIONS SERVED BY TRIALS. THE FIRST, MOST COMMON IMAGE--THAT THE TRIAL IS A RATIONAL, RULE-GOVERNED EVENT INVOLVING THE PARTIES TO A COURTROOM CONTROVERSY IN A COLLECTIVE SEARCH FOR TRUTH--REFLECTS THE CONVICTION THAT TRIAL OUTCOMES SHOULD BE DECIDED ON THE GROUNDS OF THE FACTS, EVIDENCE, AND REASONED ARGUMENTS PRESENTED BY THE CONTESTING PARTIES. A SECOND IMAGE OF THE TRIAL--AS A TEST OF CREDIBILITY--EMERGES AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE FACT THAT LAWYERS INCORPORATED INTO THEIR CASES ONLY THOSE ITEMS OF INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE THAT BOLSTER THEIR CLIENT'S POSITION. BECAUSE FACTUAL INFORMATION IS INCOMPLETE AND DELIBERATELY BIASED, JUDGES AND JURORS MUST WEIGH NOT ONLY THE INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE, BUT ALSO THE VERACITY OF THE OPPOSING SOURCES OF THE INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE. MAKING JUDGMENTS OF CREDIBILITY REQUIRES ATTENTION TO THE WAY IN WHICH INFORMATION IS PRESENTED, TO THE APPARENT QUALIFICATIONS OF WITNESSES, AND TO OTHER FACTORS. A THIRD IMAGE REFLECTS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE FUNCTION OF THE TRIAL, FOCUSING ON THE TRIAL AS A MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. HERE THE EMPHASIS IS ON MAINTAINING THE SHARED PERCEPTION THAT THE LEGAL SYSTEM EFFICIENTLY RESOLVES CONFLICTS, RATHER THAN SEEK THE TRUTH IN ANY GIVEN CASE (CREATING A SENSE THAT JUSTICE IS BEING DONE, AS OPPOSED TO ACTUALLY DOING JUSTICE). THE THREE IMAGES ARE NEITHER EXHAUSTIVE NOR MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE, BUT THEY DO SUGGEST DIFFERENT PRIORITIES FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCHERS CONCERNED WITH THE TRIAL PROCESS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE RATIONAL IMAGE SUGGESTS A NEED FOR AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH TRIAL PARTICIPANTS ARE ABLE TO PROCESS INFORMATION AND ARRIVE AT DECISIONS SYSTEMATICALLY. THE CREDIBILITY IMAGE CALLS FOR STUDIES OF THE CUES TO WHICH JURORS RESPOND IN ARRIVING AT JUDGMENTS OF CREDIBILITY. A SYSTEMATIC ASSESSMENT OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH PEOPLE SHARE POSITIVE PERCEPTIONS OF THE TRIAL AS A CONFLICT-RESOLVING RITUAL IS A RESEARCH PRIORITY IMPLIED BY THE THIRD IMAGE. A LIST OF REFERENCES IS INCLUDED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Perception; Psychology; Research; Trials
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51493

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