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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97647 Find in a Library
Title: Jurors' Interpretations and Jury Decision Making
Journal: Law and Human Behavior  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:83-100
Author(s): J A Holstein
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To examine jury decisionmaking, a mock trial was shown to 48 groups (279 subjects) who then were instructed to deliberate in 5- or 6-member groups until they had reached a unanimous verdict.
Abstract: These deliberations were audiorecorded and transcribed. Analysis of these conversational data indicates that in all 48 mock deliberations a schematic interpretation depicting the central action of the case was articulated. A scenario describing what 'really happened' was prestned at least once in every group discussion, and these interpretations guided decisionmaking and became important in the deliberation process. These interpretations also were used in persuading other jurors. As jurors contributed additional interpretations (more than one interpretation was offered in 75 percent of the mock deliberations) the group-decisionmaking task became more complex, deliberations lasted longer, and they were more difficult to resolve. A significant negative relationship was found between the number of interpretations articulated and the jury's likelihood of reaching a unanimous verdict. Articulating multiple interpretations in support of a candidate appears to militate against its unanimous adoption. Conversational excerpts from deliberations, footnotes, tabular data and 24 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Group behavior; History of juvenile justice; Jury decisionmaking; Jury research; Voice communications
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