Evidence coverage and argument skills: Cognitive factors in a juror's verdict choice Academic Article uri icon


  • Juror reasoning and verdict choice have been explored variously as functions of argument skill and the overall story representation of the evidence on which verdict choices are based. This study investigates the proportion of testimony covered in the justification of a verdict choice and its relationship with argument skill, narrative explanation or evidence-based argument, and certainty about verdict choice. Each of these variables was also compared with the verdict choice. People serving jury duty justified verdict choices in two abridged jury trials. Individuals were consistent in the relative amount of evidence used in both trials. Argument skills, evidence evaluation type, and evidence synthesis type all accounted for variance in the amount of evidence covered. Evidence coverage, along with argument skills, predicted verdict choice. As expected, those most certain about verdict choice did not use the most evidence. Implications regarding mediating factors in story construction and juror decision making are discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004