What is Jury Psychology?May 26, 2020
Having a Public Perception of Your Case
To explain the importance of jury psychology, we should look at a study that examines exactly that. “Jury Decision Making: Implications For and From Psychology” by the Association of Psychological Science is one of many studies on the topic, but it especially explains one point very well: Having a good impression on the jury can be just as important as your impression on the judge. Although a diminishing number of cases are decided by a jury, they still decide the fate of thousands of cases a month and often influence civil lawsuits as well. Lawyers often fight to control the narrative of a case because they need to win over the jury, not just the judge. The narrative of the case can almost be just as important as the evidence.
Besides the political power they provide, why are psychologists so interested in juries? Well, it’s a wonderful demonstration of a lot of psychological theory and prediction. According to the study, “The manner in which jurors perceive, interpret, and remember evidence […] can be described in terms of fundamental cognitive and social psychological concepts.” This includes the jury’s group processes in the course of the trial, which means you can compare theory and reality in a close-to-linear fashion. The study describes juries as a “real-world laboratory” for real and theoretical issues related to “reasoning, memory, judgment, decision-making, attribution, stereotyping, persuasion, and group behavior.”
What does this mean for your case? Your attorney can use insight derived from psychologists to better understand how the public interprets evidence presented in court. Most jurors don’t have legal training when it comes to evidence. They’re everyday people who may not always have much understanding of the legal proceedings. An attentive attorney will know how to present your evidence and strengthen your case.