The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘juries’

Law and Social Cognition – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 10, 2012

Barbara Spellman and Frederick Schauer recently posted their illuminating chapter, “Law and Social Cognition” on SSRN:

The body of research on law and psychology is vast, but the overwhelming proportion of it is on jury decision making, especially in criminal cases. In this chapter for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Social Cognition (D. Carlston ed.), we attempt to broaden this research agenda. We survey briefly the existing state of psychological research on jury decision making, but show that, even with respect to factual determinations, the jury is a less important decision maker than most psychologists appear to believe. Thus, further research on factual determination by judges, of which there is some but not much, could substantially enrich our understanding of the psychological dimensions of legal decision making. Moreover, the role of judges in finding, interpreting, and applying the law is itself a task necessarily involving social cognition, and we explain both this connection and how further research on the social cognition dimensions of legal reasoning and legal argument could be highly valuable. Finally, we explain how numerous issues of substantive law – questions of intent, reasonableness, and knowledge, to give just a few examples – are themselves dependent on assumptions about the social and cognitive psychological reasoning of the people affected and governed by the law. There is very little psychology research on such questions, and the agenda of law and psychology could usefully be expanded to include such themes.

Download the chapter for free here.

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Posted in Abstracts, Book, Law, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Unequal Juries

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 24, 2011

Wendy Parker posted her article, “Juries, Race, and Gender: A Story of Today’s Inequality” (Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 46, pp. 209-240, 2011), on SSRN.  Here’s the abstracst.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 was supposed to be a victory for employment discrimination plaintiffs – a dramatic expansion of their rights. Twenty years later, however, we are told that the news for employment discrimination plaintiffs has gone “from bad to worse.” This essay, a reflection on the twenty-year history of the 1991 Act, explores how just how bad it is. In doing so, this essay discovers some optimistic news (but not much): Plaintiffs today are more likely to win at trial than before the 1991 Act. This is likely because of the 1991 Act’s expanded right to a jury trial. Yet, this is not a story of optimism – or equality – for all plaintiffs. The essay’s original study of 102 jury trials reveals that some plaintiffs do much worse than other plaintiffs. African Americans and Latinos claiming race discrimination, for example, have the lowest jury win rates. Many who study jury behavior would have predicted this outcome. From this, the essay argues that the evidence is strong that the status quo is not race neutral, and neither are juries.

More.

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Posted in Abstracts, Distribution, Law | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sam Sommers on “Empirical Perspectives on Jury Diversity”

Posted by The Situationist Staff on November 28, 2010

Tufts Psychology Professor Sam Sommers speaks at Harvard Law School about his research on the interaction between the legal system and the psychology of race, stereotyping, and diversity.

Watch the video here.

For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Sam Sommers at Harvard Law School” or click here.

Posted in Implicit Associations, Law, Legal Theory, Social Psychology, Video | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Situation of Legal Judgments – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 28, 2009

Scales of JusticeBarbara O’Brien and Daphna Oyserman recently posted a draft of their paper, “It’s Not Just What You Think But Also How You Think About it: The Effect of Situationally Primed Mindsets on Legal Judgments and Decision Making” (forthcoming in 92 Marquette L. Rev. (2008)) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

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Lawyers intuitively understand that individual differences matter for legal judgments and decision making, and that calling forth certain concepts can affect how people interpret and judge evidence. But they generally overlook the influence of mindset on those very same judgments–that is, they fail to consider how situational cues can prime a way of making sense of the world that affects how people perceive evidence and receive arguments. We present two studies demonstrating the effect of priming a particular type of mindset–a focus on either achieving success or avoiding failure–on attitudes about criminal justice policy and willingness to take action based on limited evidence in a criminal case. We then discuss other mindsets that are potentially relevant to legal judgments and decision making, offering hypotheses about their likely effects and highlighting the need for further empirical research.

Posted in Abstracts, Choice Myth, Emotions, Law, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Situation of Tort Jury Apportionments: Terrorists, Proprietors, and Responsibility – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 29, 2008

Ellen Bublick’s fasinating article, “Upside Down? Terrorists, Proprietors and Responsibility for Criminal Harm in the Post-9/11 Tort-Reform World,” (forthcoming Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review) is now available for downloading on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.

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In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case a New York jury was asked to apportion liability among all potentially responsible actors. The jury apportioned responsibility for the devastation as follows – terrorists 32%, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 68%. The Port Authority was twice as responsible for the devastation as were the terrorists themselves. Public bewilderment, even outrage, over the jury’s verdict has been palpable. But what if the jurors’ verdict was correct?

In this article, Professor Bublick argues that the problem with the World Trade Center apportionment is not the particular jury verdict, but rather the tort-reform-produced state apportionment law that, in a minority of jurisdictions including New York, asks juries to divide responsibility between these negligent and intentional tortfeasors. Consequently, the paper argues that courts should avoid all or at least certain intentional-negligent responsibility comparisons. However, the paper then discusses courts’ second-best position – to uphold all jury apportionments, even those that assign greater, or perhaps far greater, responsibility to negligent than intentional parties.

Posted in Abstracts, Law | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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