Decision Making of Juries

Decent Essays

Characteristics of the Defendant

In an ideal world, a jury would be made up of unbiased and unprejudiced people, intelligent enough to comprehend the evidence and with the necessary verbal and social skills to contribute to discussion. In the real world however, research has shown that jury verdicts are influenced by irrelevant aspects of the defendant such as their physical attractiveness, gender, race and even their accent.

Physical attractiveness:

It does seem to be the case that attractive people are less likely to be considered guilty of crime and that they are often also judged to be more intelligent, confident, happy and truthful than their less attractive counterparts.
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Participants were shown one of four different combinations of photographs.

Photograph combination | % of mock jurors who found the defendant guilty | Attractive plaintiff and attractive defendant | 71% | Attractive plaintiff and unattractive defendant | 83% | Unattractive plaintiff and attractive defendant | 41% | Unattractive plaintiff and unattractive defendant | 69% | -------------------------------------------------
Write a conclusion for these results:

If the plaintiff was attractive, and the defendant was unattractive, then the mock jurors found the defendant guilty over twice as much than if the plaintiff was the unattractive part of the combination.

Give at least one point of evaluation about this study and explain why this is a criticism.

The ‘story’ the jurors received would likely have already made them somewhat biased against the employer, regardless of whether or not he was attractive because of the details it gave them. This then could have caused the jurors to judge the case differently to how they would have done with no prior knowledge of the ‘case’.
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