How do jurors argue with one another? Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We asked jurors awaiting trial assignment to listen to a recorded synopsis of an authentic criminal trial and to make a choice among 4 verdict possibilities. Each participant juror then deliberated with another juror whose verdict choice differed, as a microcosm of a full jury's deliberation. Analysis of the transcripts of these deliberations revealed both characteristics general to the sample and characteristics for which variation appeared across participants. Findings were interpreted in terms of a model of juror reasoning as entailing theory-evidence coordination. More frequently than challenging the other's statements, we found, a juror agreed with and added to or elaborated them. Epistemological stance --- whether knowledge was regarded as absolute and certain or subject to interpretation --- predicted several characteristics of discourse. Absolutists were less likely to make reference to the verdict criteria in their discourse. Those who did so, as well as those who made frequent reference to the evidence, were more likely to persuade their discourse partners.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010