Juries have a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. They determine the outcomes of trials, including whether a defendant is found guilty or not guilty and, in many cases, what the penalty will be. With the authority to deprive citizens of their freedom and potentially their lives, a fair trial requires that juries function as they should--without bias.
But do they function this way? Are juries capable of disregarding inadmissible evidence? Can they understand the instructions that they are given by the judge? And if not, what safeguards or changes would help?
Research on juries once served as a pillar of psychological scholarship, but publication of such research has slowed considerably in recent years. This volume summarizes what is known about the psychology of juries and makes a strong call to arms for more research.
Margaret Bull Kovera and other esteemed jury scholars identify important, yet understudied, topics at the intersection of psychology and law, review what research is currently available on the topics, and then suggest new research questions that would advance the field. Furthermore, the authors evaluate the relative importance of research methods that emphasize generalizability versus tight experimental control.
This book presents a comprehensive survey of the literature on jury behavior and decision making and offers a robust agenda to keep researchers busy in years to come.
Margaret Bull Kovera, PhD, is presidential scholar and a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She received her BA and PhD in psychology from Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota, respectively. She is a Fellow of APA, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychology-Law Society (APLS), and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She is a past president of APLS and the editor-in-chief of Law and Human Behavior. Dr. Kovera received the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Achievement in Psychology and Law and the APLS Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.