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Assess The Ecological Validity of Research into Persuading a Jury.

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Introduction

´╗┐Homework Questions: What is The Effect on a Jury of Order of Testimony? Pennington and Hastie believed that jurors? will construct a story to make sense of evidence and then return the verdict that has the ?best fit? with their story. P and H investigated whether the order of testimony had an effect on the jurors? decisions. The sample used in this study consisted of 130 students from the University of Chicago. The two story-telling strategies investigated in this study are; story order and witness order. Story order is when the Lawyers present evidence in the sequence that events occurred, and witness order is when lawyers present witnesses in the sequence they believe is most likely to persuade the jury (may not be the sequence in which the events occurred, also the benefits of primacy and recency effects are taken into account. Primacy effect is when for example out of a list of 10 words you are most likely to remember the first word; whereas the recency effect claims you are most likely to remember the last word. ...read more.

Middle

Various studies have been conducted into investigating the best techniques for persuading a jury, but the main issue with many of these studies is that they lack ecological validity. The most common method used in studies investigating persuading a jury, is a laboratory experiment in the form of a mock trial. Mock trials are often used because, people outside of the jury are not allowed into the jury room due to confidentiality of the legal process. One of the main issues with the use of mock trials is that participants often make an individual decision concerning the verdict of the trial, and are sometimes even asked to give a rating of their belief of the defendant?s guilt. For example in Edwards and Bryan, both of these issues occur, each individual participant gives a verdict as well as a number of ratings concerning their beliefs about the defendant?s guilt or innocence and their views about an appropriate sentence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another way in which persuading a jury, can be investigated is via ?shadow jury?, this is an alternative to mock trials, and consists of a group of participants who ?shadow? i.e. sit in on a case/trial and at the end come to a verdict themselves, and seeing if their opinions are conclusive with the juror?s. Although there are certain advantages to this method such as an improved ecological validity as the participants receive the same amount of evidence as a real jury, presented in a real manner. However the study still lacks ecological validity due to the lack of consequences, i.e. no pressure of wrongfully committing an innocent person and vice versa. Overall research into persuading a jury is often very lacking in ecological validity due to the laboratory method often used in the form of a mock trial. As these studies have a very low ecological validity, the studies lack applicability to the real world and have low validity in results. ...read more.

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