Document Sample

Questions for Pretest

1.    Why   should   one   avoid   presenting   stereotypical

2.    How do labels affect juror interpretation of clients?

3.    How does one reduce bias against the client?

4.    Why should one avoid discussion of undesirable traits?

5.    What impact does a credible source have on stereotype-
      based judgments?

6.    Why would one wish to create a neutral mood in the

7.    Why should jurors be motivated?

8.    How can stigmatization of the client be used to your

9.   How   do    stigmas   that  are   perceived   as   being
uncontrollable       affect the perception of your client?

10.   Why do jurors attempt to simplify complexity of the

11.   When is social class bias more likely?

12.   What is the importance of perceived internal causes of

13.   Why is decategorization of the client in relation to
      group membership desirable?

14.   Why should one shift the jurors’ focus to the client
      as a person rather than as a member of a group?

15.   How do jurors respond to the client with whom they
      identify highly?

16.   Why would one wish to categorize the opposition into a
      negatively perceived social group?
17.   What is a social force field?

18.   How is the persuasion of the opposition diluted by
      this force field?

19.   How does one maintain a stereotype?

20.   How would one diminish a stereotype?

21.   What is the importance of cognitive dissonance?

22.   How can stereotypes be divided?

23.   Why should   one   avoid   stimulating     the   jurors'   self-

24.   Why would one want to elicit sympathy from the jury
      toward the client?

25.   How are jurors     able    to   regulate    their   prejudiced

26.   Why would one encourage the jury to think about their
      response to the client?

27.   What form does modern racism take?

28.   Define the specifics of neosexism.

29.   How does the perception of accountability affect juror

30.   How does low involvement affect juror decision-making?

31.   Why is research with ongoing groups not relevant to
      the jury decision-making process?

32.   What is the importance of instructing the jurors on
      their role?

33.   Why is preinstruction of case-specific law useful?

34.   What is the four-step decision-making process?              How
      does it overcome bias?

35.   What is the role of preinstruction in a civil trial?
36.   What is a perceptual bias?

37.   Who is the most useful juror in punitive damage cases?

38.   How will a controlled        process   inhibit   automatic
      prejudicial processing?

39.   What effect will a juror with low self-esteem have on
      the judgment process?

40.   What is the mood-congruent judgment effect?

41.   How should actions and injustices against your client
      best be described?


Jurors and judges cannot help noticing and being affected
by   the  client's  physical   appearance,  attractiveness,
gender, race, etc.       Aspects of social thought, or
stereotypes about the members of certain groups, play a
role in the decision-making process. The overall result is
that many factors other than available evidence may enter
into the jurors’ decision concerning guilt or innocence.
Bias can, however, be overcome by instruction. Jurors are
not as fair and unbiased as we might wish, but they can
readily be induced by appropriate procedures to behave in a
fair manner.


When stereotype-based explanations of behavior are not
available, other relevant information will be considered.
When a stereotype of an event has been formed, the other
information is reviewed in an attempt to confirm the
implications of the stereotype.       Harsher punishment is
recommended   for   stereotyped  offenses   than   for  non-
stereotypic ones (Bodenhausen and Wyer, 1984).         Avoid
presenting   stereotypical   information.      Present  your
arguments using statements that do not alert the jurors to
stereotypical expectations.

Every label that is applied to a person properly refers to
only one aspect of his character. Labels, especially those
of primary potency, distract juror attention from concrete
reality (Allport, 1958).     When a client displays a
characteristic that carries a label, be sure to present
concrete information about his nature to draw attention
away from the stereotype.

Clients who are members of groups that are socially
dissimilar from the majority of the jurors will be seen as
being more benign and acceptable if other, even more
extreme behaviors, by members of another group are
introduced.    This will serve to reduce bias against the
client by referencing examples of social divergence that is
even more dissimilar than that represented by the client
(Wilder and Thompson, 1988).

Jurors will evaluate behaviors that are demonstrated by
minority group members more extremely than those of non-
minority groups (Katz, 1981).    In order to promote the
jurors' positive reactions and to minimize their negative
reactions to your client who is a minority group member,
focus on and display the client's desirable and familiar
traits. Avoid discussion of undesirable traits.

Use of a highly credible source to present information
about the client has an important impact on stereotype-
based judgments. The source must be seen by the jurors as
being   reliable,   believable,   accurate,   and  honest.
Stereotypical beliefs are highly resistant to change or
modification (Macrae, Shepherd and Milne, 1992). Awareness
of the jurors’ stereotypical beliefs regarding the client
and presentation of disconfirming information will help to
alleviate this resistance. Be sure to inform the jurors of
the credibility of the source.

Persons who are at risk of being stereotyped (e.g., members
of historically disadvantaged groups) might benefit by
making certain that individual group members possess unique
information about them. Target individuals play an active
role   in   discouraging   the   spread  of   stereotypical
information. Multiple communicators who have unique target
information desire to be accurate and complete, and the
chance that they will transmit stereotype-incongruent
attributes is heightened. The presence of these attributes
in a communication, in turn, discourages stereotypical
impressions (Ruscher and Duval, 1998).

Create a neutral mood in order to counteract adverse
stereotyping. Individuals who have been induced to feel
happy usually render more stereotyped judgments than those
who are in a neutral mood (Bodenhausen, Karmer and Sisser,

Ensure that the jurors are motivated, which will discourage
their tendency to make superficial judgments and to
stereotype your client (Chaihen and Mahaswaran, 1994).
Gain the jurors’ complete attention, and indicate the
importance of their decision to your client's future.

Stigmatization of the client can be used to your advantage
or disadvantage as appropriate.    You should be aware that
social stigma is a pervasive aspect of social existence.
There are three major types of stigmatizing conditions.
Tribal stigmas include membership in disadvantaged or
despised racial, ethnic or religious groups.           Stigma
related to abominations of the body would include physical
handicaps and disfiguring conditions.          Blemishes of
individual   character   would   include  substance    abuse,
juvenile delinquency and homosexuality.     People who have
these   stigmas  usually   are   the  targets   of  negative
stereotype and are devalued in the larger society.       If a
stigma is seen as being uncontrollable, such as race and
gender, your client will have more chance of being
perceived in a positive light than if the stigma is seen as
being controllable.    Examples of controllable stigmas are
obesity, poverty, being a rape victim, or sometimes even a
cancer victim.     The negative outcome a person incurs is
considered justifiable if the stigma is perceived as being
controllable, or that the victim has chosen his condition.
It is considered fair and justifiable that they live with
the negative repercussions that the stigma has incurred
(Crocker and Major, 1994).

Jurors will attempt to simplify the complexity of the
clients   by  classifying   them   into  applicable   social
categories.     This process is an attempt to reduce
interference from competing or distracting representations
of the client.     This tendency is largely automatic and
draws selective attention to the stereotypic qualities of a
person (Macrae, Bodehausen and Milne, 1995).     Be wary of
this oversimplification and counteract it by deflecting
stereotypic qualities of the client in your presentation.

Social class bias is more likely when information about the
client is ambiguous or absent. When jurors have access to
information that individuates the client, the information
rather than the categorization of the client will prevail
in judgment determination (Lock, Hepburn and Ortiz, 1982).
Be sure to provide the jurors with more information about
your client when the client is a member of a group that is
prone to stereotypical attitudes.

Internal causes of behavior are seen as being innate
characteristics, and the role requirements of the person
will be overlooked when his behavior is attributable
directly to him.   This locks the person into the role of
stranger and establishes his/her remoteness (Gudykunst and
Hall, 1994).    If the goal is to make jurors attribute
behavior to personal dispositional causes, describe the
actions of the subject as being antisocial or undesirable.

Use   authoritarian-type questions to determine mental
rigidity that is linked with extreme prejudice. For

The results of a study that was conducted to determine the
correlation between ego involvement and rigidity of
authoritarians   confirms    previous  findings    regarding
authoritarian rigidity.   The findings suggest that greater
rigidity   among  high-authoritarians  exists   only   under
conditions that are designed to produce ego involvement.
High-authoritarians were more rigid in maintaining their
mind-sets, but only when the ego is involved; e.g.,
politics, religion, race, and sexual preference evoke ego
arousal in most persons.       The study shows that high-
authoritarians were no more rigid than low-authoritarians
under neutral conditions.

When the issue is gender specific such as in sexual
harassment cases, be gender specific. Make all members of
that jury see the situation from the perspective of the
victim. For example:

Research indicates that skewed occupational sex ratios
influence perceptions of sexual harassment.      There are
three recognized forms of sexual harassment: unwanted
sexual attention, gender harassment, and sexual coercion.
The perception of sexual harassment was found to be
affected by an interaction between the occupation of the
target person and the type of harassment.    For example an
incident of unwanted sexual attention would more likely be
viewed as being sexual harassment if the female in question
was a forklift driver as opposed to a secretary or a flight
attendant (Sheffey and Tindale, 1992).       Other studies
indicate that gender harassment would less likely be
perceived as being harassing when the target was in a
nontraditional occupation (Carothers and Crull, 1984;
Fitzgerald, 1993).    Surveys indicate that this perception
is due to the fact that the female is viewed as being role
deviant, with gender harassment being the price she has to
pay. In situations involving coercion, occupation was less
likely to influence judgments; coercion represents the
behavior that most closely fits lay definitions of sexual
harassment   (Frazier, Cochran, and Olson, 1995).   Studies
indicate that women are more likely than men to view a
greater variety of sexual behaviors as being harassing
(e.g., Frazier, et al., 1995; Gutek et al., 1983; Jones and
Remland, 1992; Powell, 1986; Pryor, 1985).    Because women
are more likely to view an incident as being sexual
harassment, the courts have shifted from reasonable person
standard to reasonable woman standard (Ellison v. Brady,
1991). By viewing sexual harassment from the vantage point
of a reasonable woman, jurors are able to take into
consideration how women’s experiences might influence the
way in which certain sexual behaviors are perceived. Many
legal and theoretical implications are involved with this
study. One overriding factor is that the existence of a
gender gap does have an affect on not only whether sexual
harassment occurs but also on whether or not it is
perceived as such. If co-workers, supervisors, juries, and
even the players involved are unclear regarding what is or
isn’t sexual harassment, then that must mean that all who
misperceive sexual harassment, based upon a stereotypical
role, are just as guilty as the harasser.

Use priming during voir dire to avoid juror influence by
stereotypic perceptions. For example:

Research indicates that trait concepts and stereotypes
become active automatically in the presence of relevant
behavior or stereotyped features (Bargh, 1994).   However,
the use of priming (the incidental activation of knowledge
structures) carries over for a period of time to exert an
unintended passive influence on the interpretation of
behavior (see Bargh, 1994; Higgins, 1989; Wyer and Srull,
1989, for reviews).    Passive automatic activation of a
trait concept results in trait-like behavior by the
individual in two ways, direct activation and stereotype.
It is difficult for members of one social group to view an
individual member of another social group as being
distinct; i.e., all Black people like fried chicken and
watermelons and have rhythm, or all White people think that
all Black people like fried chicken and watermelons and
have rhythm. These stereotypes, though perhaps not to this
extreme, do exist. So how does one overcome the previously
held notions of twelve individuals serving on a jury panel?
What preconceptions do the jurors hold about a certain
group of individuals?      How deeply embedded are these
opinions?   What positive traits does the target possess
that are in conflict with the stereotype?


Members of a group are favored in the allocation of reward,
personal regard, and evaluation of work. Decategorizing to
separate the individual from perceived membership in the
group will decrease attractiveness and identification with
group members, reducing bias (Gaertner and Mann, 1989).
Intergroup bias thus can be reduced when changes are made
in the jurors' categorized representations.

To reduce the utility of membership in a category,
undermine the meaningfulness of the category that is used
to place the clients. This serves to nullify the
stereotypic response to the client and to force the jurors
to discriminate the client's individual characteristics,
differentiating the focus on the client as a person rather
than on a member of a group (Daly and Kreiser, 1994).

Categorization    by   apparent    physical     features   is
spontaneous; jurors make judgments based on those readily
available   cues.     Subcategorizing    occurs    when  more
information about the client is learned, and the judgment
then will be altered to fit and include the added
information (Stangor, Lynch, Duan and Glass, 1992).
Elaborate on the qualities of the client that are not
immediately apparent in order to counteract stereotyping
that is related to physical aspects.

Jurors will tend to allocate more rewards to members of
their perceived group, those whom they find similar to
themselves in some respect. If the jurors identify highly
with your client, they may perceive the opposition as being
a threat and accordingly will be inclined toward the
viewpoint of your case (Branscombe, Wann, Noel and Coleman,
1993).    Thus, it would be advisable to emphasize the
similarities between the    jurors   and   your   client   and   to
downplay the differences.

Manipulation of the jurors' perception of the opposition
can be used to effect by focusing on the social category of
the opposition, especially if their client is a member of a
negatively perceived social group.      This will prime an
unconscious negative thought in the jurors, which will be
translated into conscious negative feeling (Banaji, Hardin
and Rothman, 1993). If possible, categorize the opposition
into a negatively perceived social group and then continue
to emphasize his/her membership in that group.

Individuals can be seen as being located in social force
fields that are determined by the strength, immediacy, and
number of sources of influence. The impact that is exerted
by these influences decreases with increasing distance
(Bibb, 1995). Therefore, the persuasion that is exerted by
the opposition will be diluted by the plaintiff’s perceived
distance in similarity to the jurors.      Reference to the
plaintiff in terms of "your next-door neighbor" will reduce
their distance and influence perception of immediacy while
amplifying the stability of the minority opinion.

Increase Detail

Maintenance of the stereotype can be accomplished by
confirming events that exist in the mind of the perceiver
rather than in external reality.     This process is called
imaginal confirmation.   Change your questions from general
to specific, concerning the actual incident, including all
of the details to counteract this tendency.        Giving a
prototype   of  worst-case   scenario,   confirmed  in   the
imagination, allows the stereotype to remain available and
influential on general attitude (Slusher and Anderson,
1987).   When attempting to diminish stereotypical thoughts
and beliefs of the jurors, increase the details of the
case, including portraits of the client as a real person
and details of the circumstances of the case.


When   a  person's  actions   are  inconsistent   with  his
attitudes, he experiences a cognitive dissonance. Attitude
change restores consistency and reduces the aversive state.
Dissonance also can occur if one feels responsible for
aversive consequences (Scher and Cooper, 1989).    It is
important that jurors are made aware of the aversive
consequences of their inappropriate attitudes and the
effect of these attitudes on their judgment and decision-

Individuals stereotype others in an attempt to put order
into their world.      These stereotypes can be divided
significantly by the use of individuating information that
is useful across many situations (Hilton and Fein, 1989).
Guide the jurors to ignore their beliefs, overcoming their
stereotypes about a particular stimulus, and instruct them
to focus on the behaviors.

One should avoid stimulating jurors' self-awareness; less
self-aware subjects are more easily persuaded than highly
self-aware subjects.     People who are highly self-aware
analyze arguments more closely and resist persuasion unless
the argument is strong (Hutton and Baumeister, 1992).

High levels of sympathy for the victim will be associated
positively with helping behavior and intervention (Carlo,
Eisenbert, Troyer, Switzer and Sper, 1991).    When seeking
awards for damages, point out the aspects of your case that
are likely to elicit sympathy from the jurors.

Jurors can and will regulate their prejudiced responses if
they are made aware of those responses.      Stereotypes are
activated easily, even if they are not endorsed, if the
stereotype is spontaneously elicited (Monteith, 1993).
Instruct the jurors on the effect of these prejudiced
responses and have them monitor them closely.

Changing the jurors' attitudes toward your client will be a
function of having them think about their reasons for
feeling the way that they do. When thinking about reasons,
people tend to focus on attributes that are easily
accessible in memory, plausible as causes of their
feelings, and easy for them to verbalize.            Though
compelling, these reasons usually are unrepresentative of
the actual cause of jurors’ attitudes and imply a somewhat
different attitude than jurors held before they actually
thought about their reasons (Wilson, Hodges and LaFleur,

Racial attitudes have shifted from the more blatant kinds
of prejudice to a more insidious form. Open statements of
racism are societally undesirable, illegal, and politically
incorrect. As a consequence, the justifications for racism
have changed to maintain the status quo.      Modern racism
proposes that:    Discrimination is a thing of the past;
Blacks are pushing too hard, too fast, and into places
where they are unwanted; that the tactics and demands they
are using for recognition are unfair; and that the gains
they have made are undeserved (Tougas, Brown, Beaton and
Joly, 1995).    Point out to the jurors the dangers and
insidiousness of this symbolic racism in order that they
may be aware of their attitudes in this regard.

There is also a new kind of gender prejudice that manifests
itself as a conflict between egalitarian values and
residual negative feelings toward women.     This is called
neosexism.     The prejudice focuses on issues such as
affirmative action programs and is accountable for the
concentration   of  women   at  certain   lower  levels  of
employment.   Because of the cultural norm against sexism,
those who are prejudiced use the language of equality
rather than the language of inferiority (Tougas, Brown,
Beaton and Joly, 1995). This also can be a very insidious
form of bias and is a prejudicial condition of which the
plaintiff's attorney should be fully aware.

Decision-Making Conditions

Jurors will invest little effort in an acceptable heuristic
and simply will conform when they know the views of others
and are unconstrained by past commitments.     When they are
not aware of others' views and have no past commitments,
they will think in more complex, multidimensional ways.
When jurors are committed to a position and devote the
majority of their mental effort to justifying their
committed positions they use defensive bolstering.       The
perception of accountability will affect what they think
and how they think.        Jurors anticipate that opinion
conformity will serve as a reliable means of gaining
approval and avoiding the disapproval of others (Tetlock,
Skitka and Boettger, 1989). Therefore, the decision-making
heuristics of conformity, complex information processing,
and   defensive  bolstering    can  be   explained   by  the
accountability conditions that the jurors face.

People   remember   more   of   the   facts   that   support   their
position than they do other information.   If there is low
involvement on the part of the juror, there is less
inclination to fill in details of the story, and their
interpretation will be frozen. Jurors will tend to conform
by rationalizing their position based on hindsight and the
response of others (Griffin and Buehler, 1993).   Thus, it
would be a good idea to monitor the involvement and
rationalizing tendencies of the jurors in order to
manipulate the conformity effects.

Research with mock juries will most closely approximate the
actual jury decision-making process; ongoing groups that
are engaged in judgmental tasks cannot be compared to
short-term groups that are engaged in intellectual tasks
(Michaelson, Watson, Schwartzkopf and Black, 1992).      Be
aware that research that is relevant to group decision-
making will not always apply to the juror decision-making
process because it involves judgment in an entirely
different context.

Jurors will make less extreme and more discriminatory
patterns of attribution if they are given instruction. The
expectation that they will have to communicate their
impressions of an event places a premium on their ability
to    generate   succinct   and    readily   comprehensible
descriptions of the event. The jurors must be prepared not
only to communicate their opinions but also to justify and
defend those opinions against possible counterargument
(Tetlock and Kim, 1987).    Therefore, in order to reduce
jurors’ bias or stereotypical way of thinking, stress the
fact that they will be required not only to express their
opinions to others during deliberation but also to justify
and defend their positions.

Preinstruction of the relevance of case-specific law in a
complex case, when the evidence may be difficult to
understand,   will    enhance   the   jurors'   competence.
Preinstructed mock jurors tended to award higher amounts
than other jurors.   The preinstruction alerted the jurors
to the kinds of evidence that were required to establish
liability and monetary damages and facilitated their search
for information (Bourgeois, Horowitz, Grahe and Forster,

There is a four-step decision-making process that is well
within the jurors' capability of regulation in overcoming
bias.     The jurors should be encouraged to gather
information, assess implications, reassess, and integrate
their inferences.    The reassessment process consists of
evaluating the validity, clarity, strength, and relevance
of the implications. When integrating the information, the
juror will resolve inconsistencies and assign relative
weights to the various factors of the presentation
(Baumeister and Newman, 1994).

Incomprehensible evidence in complex trials tends to lend
itself to a pro-plaintiff bias because the plaintiff has
the burden of proof. Preinstruction of the jurors in a
civil trial will provide a cognitive framework in which the
jurors can render appropriate verdicts when they are
provided with comprehensible evidence (Bourgeois, Horowitz,
Lee and Grabe, 1995).

Jurors will be prone to a perceptual bias when they
perceive the client as being dissimilar to themselves.
When faced with threatening information, people will
augment   their    perceptions   of   their   own   safety
characteristics, causing a similarity bias. When there is
a motivation to perceive the person as being less similar
to oneself to protect one's own welfare, similarity bias
can be used to predict actual behavior.      In order to
perceive juror error in similarity bias, there must be an
objective or unmotivated standard for comparison (Gump,

Juror Profiles

When presenting a case that includes punitive damages,
choose the potential juror who is inclined to award large
money damages.      Research indicates that women, the
underemployed, and people who are subject to depression, as
well as "do gooders," consistently award generous damages
(Heinen, 1988).

Researchers have found that one can break the bad habits of
jurors regarding stereotypes and prejudices by replacing
their prejudiced responses with non-prejudiced ones.      A
controlled process can be used to inhibit the effect of the
jurors’ automatic prejudicial processing.

Be aware that jurors with low self-esteem will have more
negative views of people from minority groups than those
with high self-esteem (Stephen, Ageyev, 1994).  Carefully
select jurors with high self-esteem during the voir dire
process when representing a client from a minority group.

A mood-congruent judgment effect explains that when a mood
and an idea are similar in pleasantness, the idea generally
will seem better in some way. Happy people judge pleasant
concepts to be richer in their associations.           They
associate pleasant attributes with more applicability and
categories of pleasant examples as being more typical.
Knowledge of the jurors' mood states would be useful in
predicting a variety of their related judgments (Mayer and
Hanson, 1995). Perception of the jurors' moods will allow
accentuation of the concepts and ideas of your case in the
direction of their moods.


The inference of causality is directly related to the
description of the actions and injustices that were
performed against your client.    Verbs should be extremely
strong and descriptive.    Use terms such as “annihilate,”
“pulverize,” or “total” (Kasof and Lee, 1993).       Strong,
explosive words when describing conditions are consistently
more effective than less explosive and stimulating words.
Question for Posttest

Discuss the various issues relative to prejudice and
stereotyping of clients.   Why are these issues crucial to
the failure or success of the case?

What strategies would you employ to disincline the jury
from awarding large damages to a Black youth who was shot
by a White man, in self-defense, if the Black youth was
permanently brain damaged?

How can you help jurors to recategorize persons/events into
unique rather than stereotypical categories, or vice-versa?
How does stereotyping/recategorizing help?     What kind of
jurors would you eliminate if you had a client/case that
you felt would be viewed in stereotypical terms?