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by: Erin Downey


Erin Downey
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These are part of the notes that will cover what is going to be on the final.
Dr. Bridgett Hill Kennedy
Class Notes





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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erin Downey on Monday April 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PY 372 at University of Alabama at Birmingham taught by Dr. Bridgett Hill Kennedy in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY in Psychlogy at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Date Created: 04/11/16
CHAPTER 12: Law OVERVIEW OF THE AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM - Figure 12.1 pg. 488 THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIDENCE - Eyewitness Testimony o Many are accurate, but a lot of factors that can influence them such as thinking you saw something and you didn’t o Three conclusions about eyewitness testimony:  Eyewitnesses are imperfect  Certain personal and situational factors systematically influence eyewitness’ performance  Personal factors refer to race, feelings, etc.  Judges, juries, and lawyers are not well informed about these factors o Memory as a three-stage process:  Encoding:  Definition: Witness’s perceptions at the time of the event in question  Factors influencing: o Emotional state  Can be influenced by the situation o Weapon-focus effect: the tendency for the presence of a weapon to draw attention and impair a witness’s ability to identify the culprit o Cross-race identification bias: the tendency for people to be more accurate at recognizing members of their own racial group than of other groups  Storage:  Definition: Getting info into memory to avoid forgetting  Memory for faces and events tends to decline over time o Traumatic memories tend to stick with us for longer  But, not all memories fade over time o However, the purity of the memory can be influenced by post event info  In other words, the memory changes to become inflated.  E.g., catching a fish and it getting bigger every time you tell the story  Misinformation Effect: the tendency for false post-event info to become integrated into people’s memory of an event  If adults can be misled by post-event info, what about children? o More susceptible to this phenomenon o Repetition, misinformation, and leading questions can bias a child’s report, particularly for preschoolers.  If a child is questioned at a police station, a professional should do it to ensure that the child is not being influenced by the way a question is being asked.  Biasing Eyewitness Reports with Loaded Questions (Loftus, G.R., & Loftus, E.F., 1976)—Figure 12.2 pg. 491 o Participants viewed a film of a traffic accident and were then asked how fast the cars were going when they hit each other. The estimated mph was different depending on the type of verb used (smashed, hit, and contacted). A week later it also caused participants to reconstruct their memory of other aspects of the accident.  Using smashed had the highest estimated MPH, then hit, then contacted. o If participant reported a higher MPH, then perceived the crash damage to be worse.  The Biasing Effects of Post-Identification Feedback (Wells & Bradfield, 1998)—Figure 12.4 pg. 497 o All participants saw a film of a gunman robbing a store and then tried to identify him looking at a set of photographs that the robber was not present in. Some that saw the film were given feedback, and others not (“you did good job paying attention, etc.”) o People given confirming feedback said they paid more attention to the film, had a better view, had more details, had an easier time remembering, and would be more willing to testify in court.  Retrieval  Definition: Pulling the info out of storage when needed  Factors affecting identification performance: o Lineup construction  When people are in a line up, a witness will be comparing them to the others in line up which can affect memory o Lineup instructions to the witness  police instructions can affect an eyewitness’s willingness to make an identification o Format of the lineup o Familiarity-induced biases o Courtroom Testimony of Eyewitness  Definition: Eyewitness testimony in court is persuasive and not easy to evaluate  Why do jurors overestimate accuracy of eyewitnesses?  Lack of knowledge about human memory  Base judgments largely on witness’s confidence - The Psychology of Lie-Detection o Polygraph: a mechanical instrument that records physiological arousal from multiple channels o Do lie-detector test really work?  Truthful people often fail the test  Anxiety of having to go to the police station can make people nervous regardless of innocence  The test can be faked by artificially inflating arousal responses to “innocent” questions - False Confessions o May confess merely to escape a bad situation o Internalization can lead innocent suspect to believe they might be guilty of the crime o Two factors can increase the risk of false confessions:  Lack of a clear memory of the event in question  Presentation of false evidence (e.g., we have your fingerprints on this and someone said you were there) o Interrogation as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Do Guilty Expectations Produce False Confessions? (Narchet et al., 2011)—Figure 12.5 pg. 504  Participants were told to solve a series of problems sometimes alone and sometimes with a confederate. Half of the participants were induced to cheat, the other half were not. Eight men then interrogated the participants. Some of the interrogators were led to believe the participant was probably guilty or innocent. Interrogators were able to get confessions from most of the guilty participants, but also elicited false confessions in some innocent participants. - Confessions and the Jury: An Attributional Dilemma o Juries are powerfully influenced by evidence of a confession, even if the confession was coerced.  Fundamental attribution error  More likely to attribute a person’s behavior to personal factors than situational factors  E.g., in case of Ronald Cotton behavior is attributed to his sexual assault charge instead of the current situation o A jury’s reaction can be influence by how confession evidence is presented. JURY DECISION MAKING - Jury Selection o Starts with a compilation of a list of prospective citizens. o Voir dire is the pretrial examination of prospective jurors by the judge or opposing lawyers to uncover signs of bias.  E.g., racial, gender o A peremptory challenge is a means by which lawyers can exclude a limited number of prospective jurors without the judge’s approval. - Trial Lawyers as Intuitive Psychologists o As far as trial practice is concerned, how-to book claim that the astute lawyer can predict a juror’s verdict by his or her gender, race, age, ethnic background, and other simple demographics. - Scientific Jury Selection o A method of selecting juries through surveys that yield correlations between demographics and trial-relevant attitudes o Does scientific jury selection work?  It appears that attitudes can influence verdicts in some cases and that pretrial research can help lawyers identify these attitudes o Is scientific jury selection ethical? - Juries in Black and White: Does Race Matter? o To what extent does a juror’s race color his or her decision making? Research suggests that there is no simple answer to this question. - Effects of Racial Diversity on the Jury (Sommers, 2006)—Figure 12.6 pg. 509 o Jury members were divided into three groups (blacks in diverse groups, whites in diverse groups, whites in all-white groups). In some cases, the issue of race was mentioned (race-relevant), but in others race wasn’t mentioned (race-neutral). When race was neutral, all three groups were more likely to say they were guilty. When race is made relevant, whites were more likely to say they were guilty. - Death Qualification o Definition: 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 o Are death-qualified juries more prone to convict?—yes THE COURTROOM TRIAL - Nonevidentiary Influences o Pretrial Publicity  Does exposure to pretrial news stories corrupt prospective jurors?—yes, it will influence their decision to find someone guilty or not guilty  Why is pretrial publicity potentially dangerous?  Often divulges info that is not later allowed into the trial record  Issue of timing  Contaminating Effects of Pretrial Publicity (Kerr, Kramer, Carroll, & Alfinin, 1982)—Figure 12.7 pg. 513  Participants were exposed to a prejudicial or neutral news reports about a defendant, watched a videotaped trial, and voted before and after participating in a mock jury deliberation. Pretrial publicity increased conviction rate both before and after deliberation, even among participants perceived to be impartial by judges and lawyers.  The more people are exposed to pretrial publicity to prejudicial news, the more likely they are to say someone is guilty. o Inadmissible Testimony  Why do people not always follow a judge’s order to disregard inadmissible evidence?  Added instruction draws attention to the info in controversy  Judge’s instruction to disregard may arouse reactance  Jurors want to reach the right decision, so it is hard to ignore info that seems relevant to the case.  Nullification testimony: jurors choose to not ignore evidence to better meet the right decision JURY DELIBERATION - Leadership in the Jury Room o A person is more likely to be chosen as foreperson if the person:  Has a higher occupational status  Has prior jury experience  Are male  Speaks first  Sitting at the head of a rectangular table o Forepersons act more as the jury‘s moderator rather than its leader - Jury Deliberation: The Process—Figure 12.8 pg. 517 - The Dynamics of Deliberation o In criminal trials, deliberation tends to produce a leniency bias favoring the defendants.  Leniency bias: tendency for jury deliberations to produce a tilt toward acquittal o How do juries resolve disagreements?  A combination of informational and normative influence - Jury Size o How does jury size affect the decision-making process?  Possible lack of allies in smaller juries may make it harder to resist normative pressures (research suggests six members is a good number)  Smaller juries are less likely to represent minority segments of the population  Smaller juries are more likely to reach unanimous decisions after shorter deliberation periods. POSTTRIAL: TO PRISON AND BEYOND - The Sentencing Process o People disagree on the goals served by imprisonment  Incapacitate offenders and deter them from committing future crime?  Exact retribution for misdeeds? o Common public complaint is sentencing disparity.  Sentencing disparity: the inconsistency of sentences for the same offense from one judge to another - The Prison Experience o Does the prison situation lead guards and prisoners to behave as they do? o Zimbardo et al. (1973)  Stanford Prison Study  How does this study inform the power of the situation?  Some good people are led to behave in bad ways. Zimbardo termed this the Lucifer Effect. PERCEPTIONS OF JUSTICE - Justice as a Matter of Procedure o Satisfaction with dispute resolution depends on both the outcome and the procedure used to achieve those outcomes. o Important aspects of procedure:  Decision control: whether a procedure affords the involved parties the power to accept, reject, or otherwise influence the final decision  Process control : whether it offers the parties an opportunity to present their case to a third-party decision maker - Which Legal System Do People Prefer? o Adversarial Model: the prosecution and defense presents opposing sides of the story  Seen in the US and United Kingdom; few countries have this model o Inquisitorial Model: a neutral investigator gathers evidence from both sides and presents the finding in court  The more common model o Adversarial proceedings seen as more fair and just because the method offers participants a voice in the proceedings. - Closing Statement o Through an understanding of social psychology, we can now identify the problems in the legal system and even find some solutions.


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