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Law in Context

Abstract from Volume 17 No 1 (2000) Criminal Justice in Diverse Communities

How Evidence and Social Identity Interact to Affect Jurors' Judgments

Neil Brewer, RM Hupfeld and Carolyn Schmidt

Brewer, Hupfeld and Schmidt consider the circumstances of jury deliberation that may give rise to the operation of social identity stereotypes among jurors, in other words, juror bias. In particular, the author (all psychologists) explore whether the ambiguity and complexity of evidence - in the guise of the credibility of witnesses and the culpability of defendants - might influence the tendency of an individual juror to allow his or her judgment to be swayed by social prejudices. They found evidence to suggest that jurors' prejudices were most likely to come into play when they could not reach a clear-cut judgment on the evidence.

(1999) 17(1) Law in Context 130
Keywords: Juries

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