Faith in thy threshold

Curley, Lee J.; Murray, Jennifer; MacLean, Rory; Laybourn, Phyllis and Brown, David (2018). Faith in thy threshold. Medicine, Science and the Law, 58(4) pp. 239–250.



The current study focussed on the decision-making processes of jurors. The study investigated how jurors make a decision, if they integrate information within their decision-making process and if cue utilisation thresholds promote confirmation bias. To do this, 108 participants listened to one of nine cases. These participants were asked to give a likelihood of guilt rating after each piece of evidence, to state what the last piece of information was that they needed to make a decision and to give a final verdict at the end of a trial. The results highlighted that threshold decision making was being utilised, that information integration may allow thresholds to be reached and that thresholds may promote confirmation bias to reduce cognitive dissonance. In conclusion, this suggests that jurors integrate information until they reach a leading verdict, then the evaluation of information is distorted to support the leading threshold. Implications relate to legal instructions for jurors.

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