College for Professional Studies
Master of Arts
School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
Can juror bias be predicted after a thorough voir dire is conducted by a trained forensic psychologist? Most cases involve complex laws that require jurors to be more critical and thoughtful about their decisions and ultimately their verdicts. It is not enough to observe a jury pool and assess non-verbal cues. A trained trial consultant must have the psychological background to completely predict behavior of jurors based not only on non-verbal behaviors but also on socioeconomic, racial and gender factors as well as experience. All jurors are biased, but it is the trial consultant's duty to filter through those biases and choose jurors that are most helpful to the side of the case they are representing. The bias and prejudice that exist within the minds of jurors are learned attitudes about others that affect thoughts and actions and ultimately judgments. The human condition is a vital part of understanding how jurors make decisions. Passion, intention, relationship, intellect and emotion all collide during the trial process and the juror cannot be expected to leave her own human take on the human condition at the courtroom door. The mock trial is used as a test run for trial consultants and defense attorneys to assess the how jurors will respond to the case, its themes, the defendant and even the prosecution's arguments. The mock trial allows a glimpse into the jury deliberation room and into the jurors' minds. A good forensic psychologist focused on choosing a jury will filter through the demographic data, non-verbal cues and other communications to select the most favorable jury for her client.
Date of Award
© Harper Louden
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Louden, Harper, "Deconstructing the Mock Trial" (2006). Student Publications. 407.