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Jurors' consideration of inadmissible evidence: A motivational explanation
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Sivasubramaniam, Bianca KlettkeBianca Klettke, J Clough, R Schuller, K Oleyar
Procedural justice research suggests that, as decision makers in a trial, jurors may be unwilling to disregard inadmissible evidence if they believe it will lead to a just outcome. In an experimental study, three hypotheses were tested: participants reading trial evidence while assuming the role of a juror (rather than observer) would report stronger motivations to protect the community; motivations to protect the community would be associated with higher conviction rates; and participants would be more likely to follow judicial instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence when they assumed an observer (rather than juror) role. Findings indicated that participants were more likely to convict the defendant when they experienced higher motivations to protect the community, reinforcing the importance of studying juror motivations. However, results revealed a complex pattern of factors affecting juror motivations as well as verdict decisions. Results are discussed in terms of the effectiveness of the curative instruction, and key directions for future research.