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The Impact of Mood on Mock Juror Decision-making

By Janet Clare Dart

Abstract

The full text of this dissertation is available only to University of Leicester members. Please log in with your CFS username and password when prompted.Whilst events within the courtroom can cause intense emotions in jurors (e.g. Miller & Bornstein, 2009), little research has been conducted on jurors’ incidental moods and the impact of these when evaluating evidence and reaching verdicts. This online study explored the impact of mood, defendant guilty physical appearance, and evidentiary strength on mock jurors’ evaluation of evidence in a hypothetical murder trial using a between participants design. Moods (happy, sad or control) were induced by the use of written autobiographical recall of happy festive memories or sad financial memories. Those in the control condition wrote about buildings they passed regularly. Three levels of evidentiary strength were manipulated (low, moderate or high) and two photographs of the defendant were employed to manipulate defendant guilty appearance (innocent or guilty looking). As hypothesised, mock jurors were more likely to vote guilty as evidentiary strength increased. Additionally, mock jurors were more likely to vote guilty in the guilty, compared to the innocent, physical appearance condition. Contrary to the study hypotheses, however, mood did not interact with evidentiary strength. Mock jurors in a happy mood were affected by evidentiary strength in the same manner as participants in the sad and control mood conditions.University of Leiceste

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9008
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