ERIC Number: ED219821
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Reactance in the Jury Room: Decision by Men and Not by Laws.
Follert, Vincent F.
Based on research indicating that restrictive judicial language directed at jurors encourages reactance, or decisions contrary to the judge's instructions, two experiments were conducted to determine whether courtroom jurors merely admonished to ignore inadmissible evidence would be more inclined to comply with judicial instructions than would jurors provided with explanations for the admonition. In the first experiment, college students placed in one control and three experimental groups were given a summary of a murder and robbery case, with the experimental groups receiving an additional piece of evidence of questionable legality. In the first condition the judge ruled the disputed evidence was admissible, in the second the evidence was ruled inadmissible, and in the third, the subjects were told the evidence was inadmissable but were given an explanation for the ruling. The results indicated that the inadmissible testimony and admonitions did not significantly influence the final verdict, but that the admonition with explanation may have diminished the subjects' reactance where sentencing was concerned. In the second experiment, which was of identical design but involved assault and battery and a monetary decision rather than a jail sentence, the judicial justification led to the subjects' increased reliance on the inadmissible testimony, or a strong reactance. The results provide strong support for the notion that rulings of inadmissible evidence influence jurors' decisions. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Juries; Reactance (Psychology)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Central States Speech Association (Milwaukee, WI, April 15-17, 1982).