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					Social Psychology & Law
Social Psychology and the Law
 Psychology    in the Courtroom

  Pre-trial


  Courtroom Drama


  Jury   Deliberation

  Post-conviction
Pre Trial: Jury Selection
   In US, you have right to an “impartial” jury
   Is that right upheld?
   Jury selection is 3-step process
     1.) Master list of eligible jurors
     2.) Random sample taken from master list – these
        people are called for jury duty
     3.) Voir dire – pretrial interview by judge and lawyers, to
        omit “biased” jurors
Jury Selection: Voir dire
   Voir dire: Does it work?
   Peremptory challenges – lawyers can reject certain # of
    jurors who seem unbiased without reasons
   Trial lawyers act as intuitive psychologists
   For example, the stereotypes are that:
       Athletes are unsympathetic to fragile or injured victims
       Engineers are unemotional
       Men with beards resist authority
Jury Selection: Voir dire
   Are these stereotypes accurate? Not really:
   For example, contrary to lawyer’s beliefs, people are
    harsher toward same-race defendants when evidence is
    strong (Kerr et al., 1995)
   In general, lawyers are not good at predicting jury voting
    by intuition (Olczak et al., 1991) or question-asking (Kerr
    et al., 1991)
“Scientific” Jury Selection
   Hiring professional jury consultants to identify
    ideal jurors
   Use survey methods that yield correlations
    between demographics and trial-relevant
    attitudes
     E.g, In OJ Simpson trial, black women were
      identified as most sympathetic to OJ
   Lawyers than ask potential jurors targeted
    personal questions to identify the “right” jurors
Jury Selection: Death Qualification
   Used in
       capital cases
       Jury prescribes sentencing
   Judge can exclude all potential jurors who say they are
    against the death penalty.
   Does this tip the balance toward the death penalty?
   Yes! Jurors who are not opposed to the death penalty:
       More likely to vote guilty in murder trial (Cowan et al., 1986)
       More concerned about crime, trustful of police, cynical toward
        defense lawyers, etc.
       The death qualification process itself conveys that the defendant
        is guilty!
Jury Selection: Death Qualification
   Lockhardt v McCree (1986) – Supreme Court case
    questioning whether death row inmates deserved new
    trial because of biases in death qualification
   APA presented exhaustive review of evidence
   Supreme Court dismissed the evidence, ruling that death
    qualification does not bias juries.
Nonevidentiary Influences:
Pretrial Publicity
   Does exposure to pretrial news stories corrupt
    prospective jurors?
   Why is pretrial publicity potentially dangerous?
Contaminating Effects of Pretrial Publicity




          From N.I. Kerr, G.P. Kramer, J.S. Carroll and J.J. Alfinin, (1982), "On the Effectiveness of Voir Dire in Criminal
          Cases with Prejudicial Pretrial Publicity: An Empirical Study," American University Law Review, 40, pp. 665-
          701. Reprinted with permission.
Nonevidentiary Influences:
Inadmissible Testimony
   Why do people not always follow a judge’s order to
    disregard inadmissible evidence?
      Added instruction draws attention
      Judge’s instruction to disregard may arouse
       reactance.
      Hard to ignore information that seems relevant to the
       case.
Courtroom Drama
Do Innocent Defendants Ever Confess?
   Central Park Jogger Rape




                               Matias Reyes
The Risk of False Confessions
   May confess merely to escape a bad situation.
   Internalization can lead innocent suspects to believe
    they might be guilty of the crime.
   Factors that increase the risk:
      Vulnerability
          Suspect who lacks clear memory of the event in
           question
      False incriminating evidence
          Presentation of false evidence
False Confessions
(Kassin & Kiechel)
 Ps worked on a computer task.
     Told: “DO   NOT hit alt key bc computer will crash!”

   Vulnerability manipulation
     Task   (½ very slow-paced vs. ½ very fast-pace)

   Incriminating evidence
     Evidence offered   by confederate (½ yes vs. ½ no)

Dependent variables:
 % who signed a confession
 % who admitted guilt privately
False Confessions
(Kassin & Kiechel)

                  100
                   90
                   80
% who confessed




                   70
                   60
                   50                                    Slow task
                   40                                    Fast task
                   30
                   20
                   10
                    0
                        No evidence   (False) evidence
False Confessions
(Kassin & Kiechel)

                                 70
% who admitted guilt privately




                                 60
                                 50

                                 40
                                                                       Slow task
                                 30                                    Fast task
                                 20

                                 10

                                 0
                                      No evidence   (False) evidence
Okay, but How Much
Is a Confession Worth?
(Kassin & Sukel)

Mock jurors read a murder trial
   1/3 no confession in trial
   1/3 low-pressure confession in trial
   1/3 high-pressure confession in trial



Dependent variable:
  %   of participants convicting the defendant
Okay, but How Much
Is a Confession Worth?
(Kassin & Sukel)
                                70
 % of participants convicting




                                60

                                50

                                40
                                30

                                20

                                10
                                 0
                                     No confession   Low pressure   High pressure
Okay, but How Much
Is a Confession Worth?
(Kassin & Sukel)
                                70
 % of participants convicting




                                60

                                50

                                40
                                30

                                20

                                10
                                 0
                                     No confession   Low pressure   High pressure



Answer: a lot!!!
Why? An Attributional Dilemma
   Juries are powerfully influenced by evidence of a
    confession, even if the confession was coerced.
      FAE revisited.


   A jury’s reaction can be influenced by how confession
    evidence is presented.
                Perceptual Salience


                            Actor A




                            Actor B

Whichever actor they faced was the one the observers judged to be the
                 more dominant member of the dyad
Confessions & Perceptual Salience
(Lassister & colleagues)
   Taped mock confessions from 3 different angles
     1/3 only suspect was visible
     1/3 only interrogator was visible
     1/3 both were visible



   Ps who only saw suspects saw the situation as
    less coercive than did others
                                                EYEWITNESSES
            Stage 1                             Three chances to for errors


                                 Stage 2


                                                            Stage 3

Actual    Acquisition:          Storage:
                                                     Retrieval:
Events   Info the person    Info the person
                                                  Info the person
            perceives      stores in memory
                                              retrieves at a later time
Eyewitness Testimony:
Acquisition
   Refers to the witness’s perceptions at the time of the
    event in question.
   Factors influencing acquisition:
      One’s emotional state
      Weapon-focus effect
      Cross-race identification bias
    Eyewitnesses: Acquisition
   Accuracy of Eyewitness Identification
      Phase    1
          Staged a theft; Ps (“eyewitnesses”) pick out “thief” from
           photos
             Poor viewing condition – “thief” wore cap; present for 12 seconds
             Moderate viewing condition -- “thief” revealed more of his face;
              present for 12 seconds
             Good viewing condition -- “thief” did not wear cap; present for 20
              seconds
      Phase    2
        Eyewitnesses were questioned & session videotaped
        New Ps (“jurors”) watched videotaped session

        Jurors rated extent to which they believed

         the witness correctly identified the thief
                   Accuracy of Eyewitness Identification
             100

                                                    Jurors who
             80                                     thought
                                                    witness made
Percentage




                                                    correct
             60                                     identification
                                                    Witnesses
             40                                     who correctly
                                                    identified
                                                    thief
             20
                     Poor     Moderate       Good

                        Viewing Conditions
Eyewitness Testimony: Storage
   Refers to getting the information into memory to avoid
    forgetting.
   Memory for faces and events tends to decline over time.
   But, not all memories fade over time.
      However, the “purity” of the memory can be
       influenced by postevent information.
    Eyewitness Testimony:
    Storage (cont.)
   Misinformation Effect: The tendency for false postevent
    information to become integrated into people’s memory
    of an event.
   If adults can be misled by postevent information, what
    about children?
      Repetition, misinformation, and leading questions can
        bias a child’s report, particularly for preschoolers.
Eyewitness: Storage Stage
(Loftus & Palmer)


 About how fast were     “smashed”     40.8 mph
  the cars going when       “hit”      34.0 mph
 they ____ each other?   “contacted”   30.8 mph
Eyewitness: Storage Stage
(Loftus & Palmer)


 About how fast were            “smashed”          40.8 mph
  the cars going when              “hit”           34.0 mph
 they ____ each other?          “contacted”        30.8 mph



              32% Misremembered Broken Glass in “Smashed” Condition
Eyewitness Testimony:
Retrieval
   Refers to pulling the information out of storage when
    needed.
   Factors affecting identification performance:
      Lineup construction
      Lineup instructions to the witness
      Format of the lineup
      Familiarity-induced biases
Eyewitness: Retrieval Stage
 Lineups (Malpass & Devine)
 Ps saw a staged act of vandalism, after which
  they attended a lineup
     Instructions received:
        ½ biased (led to believe culprit was present)
        ½ unbiased (may or may not be present)

     Culprit   (½ was present vs. ½ was absent)
   Dependent variable:
    %     of false identifications
Lineup Identifications
(Malpass & Devine)

                             80
                             70
% of false identifications




                             60
                             50
                             40                                      Unbiased
                                                                     Biased
                             30
                             20
                             10
                             0
                                  Culprit present   Culprit absent
    Child Eyewitnesses
    (Leichtman & Ceci)

   Pre-school kids told story about clumsy man, Sam Stone, who
    broke things
   Month later, man visited class for a day
   Next day, teacher points out ripped book and soiled teddy bear
   Conditions:
      Control or
      Asked suggestive questions
   DVs and results:
      72% falsely identified perpetrator
      45% said they saw him do it
   Real world: Wee Care Nursery School in NJ (1988)
How lineups should be conducted

 4-8 innocent “foils”
 Nothing should make accused person
  stand out or look different – it greatly
  increases chance s/he will be selected
 One at a time (“show-up”)
Jury Deliberation: Leadership in the
Jury Room
   A person is more likely to be chosen as
    foreperson if the person:
     Is of higher occupational status or has prior
      jury experience.
     Is a male.
     Is the first person who speaks.
     Is sitting at the head of a rectangular table.
   Forepersons act more as the jury’s
    moderator rather than its leader.
   Jury Deliberation:
   A Leniency Bias in the Jury
                            Final Jury Verdicts (%)
Initial Votes         Conviction          Acquittal   Hung
   6-0 (guilty-not)       100             0           0
   5-1                     78             7           16
   4-2                     44             26          30
   3-3                       9            51          40
   2-4                       4            79          17
   1-5                      0             93          7
   0-6                      0             100         0
Summary

   We can understand a lot about what goes on in
    the courtroom by studying the psychology of
    the major courtroom actors.

   The evidence from psychological research can
    be (and sometimes is) used to critique &
    improve aspects of the legal system.