Jury Psychology

Dominic Willmott

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Whilst jury trials are widely considered to be a fairer way of deciding whether an accused person is guilty of a crime, than a judge deciding on their own, over time numerous psychological phenomenon have been shown to affect juror behaviour and the decisions they make (Willmott, 2016). As such, Jury Psychology can be described as the study of wide ranging psychological factors that impact the behaviour, deliberations, and decisions of jurors during trial. The domain of Cognitive Psychology has sought to understand how information is processed by jurors in an attempt to uncover how decisions are reached and what schematic mechanisms are triggered when hearing evidence in a given case (cf. Pennington & Hastie, 1992). The field of Social Psychology has focused instead upon group processes that occur during deliberation, examining the impact of majority and minority influence, as well as conformity to figures of authority, upon verdicts reached. More broadly, Forensic Psychology has applied principles from varying approaches in order to display the extent that bias from factors, such as pre-trial publicity and inadmissible evidence, can have upon the fairness of decisions made. The application of psychological principles have undoubtedly led to great leaps in our understanding of individual juror behaviour and collective jury decisions, as well as the impact of bias upon verdict outcomes. However, secrecy surrounding deliberations which attempts to protect the integrity of decisions made, has led justice systems around the world to question the reliability of experimental findings that emerged within artificial trial simulations (Bornstein, 1999; Zander, 2005).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFactbook: Psychology and Law
    EditorsBianca Baker, Rashid Minhas, Lauren Wilson
    PublisherEuropean Association of Psychology and Law
    ISBN (Print)9781326989651
    Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2017


    • Jury
    • Criminal Justice
    • Forensic Psychology


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