The impact of misinformation presented during jury deliberation on juror memory and decision-making

Article


Cullen, Hayley J., Dilevski, Natali, Nitschke, Faye T., Ribeiro, Gian, Brind, Shobanah and Woolley, Nikita. 2024. "The impact of misinformation presented during jury deliberation on juror memory and decision-making." Frontiers in Psychology. 15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1232228
Article Title

The impact of misinformation presented during jury deliberation on juror memory and decision-making

ERA Journal ID123048
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCullen, Hayley J., Dilevski, Natali, Nitschke, Faye T., Ribeiro, Gian, Brind, Shobanah and Woolley, Nikita
Journal TitleFrontiers in Psychology
Journal Citation15
Article Number1232228
Number of Pages22
Year2024
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN1664-1078
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1232228
Web Address (URL)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1232228/full
Abstract

When deliberating, jurors may introduce misinformation that may influence other jurors’ memory and decision-making. In two studies, we explored the impact of misinformation exposure during jury deliberation. Participants in both studies read a transcript of an alleged sexual assault. In Study 1 (N = 275), participants encountered either consistent pro-prosecution misinformation, consistent pro-defense misinformation, or contradictory misinformation (pro-prosecution and pro-defense). In Study 2 (N = 339), prior to encountering either pro-prosecution or pro-defense misinformation while reading a jury deliberation transcript, participants either received or did not receive a judicial instruction about misinformation exposure during deliberation. Participants in both studies completed legal decision-making variables (e.g., defendant guilt rating) before and after deliberation, and their memory was assessed for misinformation acceptance via recall and source memory tasks. In Study 1, misinformation type did not influence legal decision-making, but pro-prosecution misinformation was more likely to be misattributed as trial evidence than pro-defense or contradictory misinformation. In Study 2, pro-defense misinformation was more likely to be misattributed to the trial than pro-prosecution misinformation, and rape myths moderated this. Furthermore, exposure to pro-defense misinformation skewed legal decision-making towards the defense’s case. However, the judicial instruction about misinformation exposure did not influence memory or decision-making. Together, these findings suggest that misinformation in jury deliberations may distort memory for trial evidence and bias decision-making, highlighting the need to develop effective safeguards for reducing the impact of misinformation in trial contexts.

Keywordslegal decision-making; jury deliberation; misinformation; memory; juries
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520103. Forensic psychology
520402. Decision making
440203. Courts and sentencing
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Newcastle
Macquarie University
University of Sydney
Griffith University
University of Queensland
School of Law and Justice
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