Experimental Research on Jury Decision-Making

Science  02 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4908, pp. 1046-1050
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4908.1046


Because trial juries deliberate in secrecy, legal debates about jury functioning have relied heavily on anecdote and speculation. In recent years, investigators have begun to challenge many common assumptions about jury behavior. An important tool in this effort has been the mock jury experiment, in which research participants are randomly assigned to alternative trial conditions and asked to reach a verdict in a simulated case. Researchers have used mock jury experiments to test hypotheses about causal influences on jury behavior and to develop theoretical models of the jury deliberation process.