PSYC 241 - Chapter 12 - Law

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PSYC 241
Roderick C L Lindsay

Chapter 12: Law - People are notoriously inept at telling the difference between truth and lies Jury Selection Three Stage Process: 1. Court uses voter registration lists, telephone directories, and other sources to compile a master list of eligible citizens who live in the community 2. A certain number of people from the list are randomly drawn and summoned for duty 3. People subject to a voir dire – pretrial interview in which the judge and lawyers question the prospective jurors for signs of bias Peremptory challenges: lawyers can reject a certain limited number of prospective jurors even if they seem fair and open-minded without having to state reasons or require the judge’s approval Trial Lawyers as Intuitive Psychologists Implicit personality theory: set of assumptions that people make about how certain attributes are related to each other and to behaviour - Stereotypes: when we believe that all members of a group share the same attributes Scientific Jury Selection Scientific jury selection: a method of selecting juries through surveys that yield correlations between demographics and trial-relevant attitudes Juries in Black and White: Does Race Matter? - When evidence is weak, participants are more lenient in their verdicts towards the defendant of the same race - Jurors favour defendants who are similar to themselves - When evidence was strong, they were harsher against the similar defendant - As if distancing themselves from his or her wrongdoing - When race was not an issue that is ‘on the radar’, white jurors predictably treated the defendant more favourably when he was white than when he was black - When race was made a prominent issue, white jurors made strong attempts to not appear prejudiced and did not discriminate Death Qualification - A majority of American states permit capital punishment - Among those that do – the jury decides the verdict and the sentence - Influenced by the facts of the case as well as the beliefs towards the death penalty - People who favour the death penalty are more likely to hold fundamentalist religious views and a belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible Death qualification: a jury-selection procedure used in capital cases that permits judges to exclude prospective jurors who say they would not vote for the death penalty - Jurors asked about the death qualification during voir dire questions were more likely to vote for conviction – presumed because they were asked about it that it was a desirable form of punishment The Courtroom Drama Confession Evidence Nine Steps of Interrogation 1. Confront the suspect with assertions of his or her guilt 2. Develop themes that appear to justify or excuse the crime 3. Interrupt all statements of innocence and denial 4. Overcome all of the subject’s objections to the charges 5. Keep the increasingly passive suspect from tuning out 6. Show sympathy and understanding and urge the suspect to tell all 7. Offer the suspect a face-saving explanation for his or her guilty action 8. Get the suspect to recount the details of the crime 9. Convert that statement into a full written confession False Confessions 1. Suspects who lack clear memory of the event in question 2. Presentation of false evidence - Judge must determine if the confessing suspect pleaded guilty voluntarily or was coerced - Coerced: sleep/food deprived, threatened, abused, etc. – excluded - Voluntary: admitted into evidence for the jury to evaluate The Lie Detector Test Polygraph: mechanical instrument that records physiological arousal from multiple channels - Accuracy rates of up to 80-90% - Truthful persons too often fail the test - People who understand the test can fake the results - Tense muscles, squeeze toes, or use other physical countermeasures when answering control questions - Artificially inflate the responses to innocent questions - New alternative: measurement of involuntary electrical activity in the brain - Pupil dilation when person is asked to lie requires more cognitive effort than telling the truth - Use fMRIs to measure blood oxygen levels in areas of the brain associated with deception Eyewitness Testimony – ASSIGNMENT 3 - Eyewitnesses are imperfect - Certain personal and situational factors can systematically influence their performance - Judges, juries and lawyers are not adequately informed about these factors Acquisition - A witnesses’ perceptions at the time of the event in question - Brief exposure time, poor lighting, long distance, physical disguise, and distraction can limit perceptions - Highly aroused witnesses zoom in on the central features of an event – culprit, victim, or a weapon Weapon focus effect: when a criminal pulls out a gun, razor blade, or knife, witnesses are less able to identify that culprit than if no weapon is present Cross-race identification bias: the tendency for people to have a difficulty identifying members of a race other than their own Storage - The witness rehearses and stores that information in memory to avoid forgetting Misinformation effect: the tendency for false post-event misinformation to become integrated into people’s memory of an event - Preschoolers were more likely than older children and adults to incorporate misleadin
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