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Evidential and extralegal factors in juror decisions: Presentation mode, retention, and level of emotionality

Abstract

Examined whether video scene re-creations affect juror decisions by assessing factual retention, emotional state, liability assessments, and damage awards. 102 mock jurors reviewed case materials from a wrongful death suit in 1 of 3 formats: print (transcripts), videotaped testimony, or videotaped testimony plus video re-creation. Pre- to posttest differences in emotionality were assessed with the Profile of Mood States questionnaire. Retention levels were measured by multiple choice questionnaire. Jurors in the videotaped testimony conditions experienced greater emotional reactions than those who read transcripts. Mood changes were inversely related to liability assessments on the plaintiff but no differences in damage awards were noted. This suggests that perceptions of levels of defendant liability are influenced by emotions, but damage awards appear to be based more on factual evidence. Video scene re-creations may thus be more effective in inducing out-of-court settlements than in actually swaying jurors' decisions.

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Correspondence to Gary N. Howells.

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Fishfader, V.L., Howells, G.N., Katz, R.C. et al. Evidential and extralegal factors in juror decisions: Presentation mode, retention, and level of emotionality. Law Hum Behav 20, 565–572 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01499042

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Keywords

  • Emotional Reaction
  • Factual Retention
  • Mood Change
  • Presentation Mode
  • Case Material