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20 - Social Cognition of Jury Decision-Making

from Part III - Trial Phase Decision-Making

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2024

Monica K. Miller
University of Nevada, Reno
Logan A. Yelderman
Prairie View A & M University, Texas
Matthew T. Huss
Creighton University, Omaha
Jason A. Cantone
George Mason University, Virginia
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This chapter discusses the growing body of research that examines the social cognitive processes of jurors used when making verdict or sentencing decisions. This includes the empirical findings related to priming ideas and attitudes and impression formation. The chapter then discusses heuristics, or cognitive “shortcuts,” that jurors employ during their decision-making processes in trials and deliberations. For instance, there is a tendency for jurors to over-rely on dispositional attributions, stereotypes, and schemas. Cognitive biases that jurors are prone to, such as the hindsight bias, the outcome bias, and counterfactual thinking, will also be discussed in the context of evaluating evidence and making verdict decisions, along with the potential of debiasing techniques. Finally, jurors’ biases and prejudices regarding factors, such as race, gender, and religion, and how they relate to decision-making are examined. The chapter also addresses areas of social cognition that have not yet been explored in current research and provides recommendations for future directions.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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