Effects of Pre-Trial Publicity and Jury Deliberation on Juror Bias and Source Memory Errors

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We examined the effects of exposure to pre‐trial publicity (PTP) and jury deliberation on juror memory and decision making. Mock jurors either read news articles containing negative PTP or articles unrelated to the trial. They later viewed a videotaped murder trial, after which they either made collaborative group decisions about guilt or individual decisions. Finally, all participants independently attributed specific information as having been presented during the trial or in the news articles. Exposure to PTP significantly affected guilty verdicts, sentence length, perceptions of defendant credibility, and misattributions of PTP as having been presented as trial evidence. Jury deliberation had significant effects on jury verdicts, perceptions of defendant credibility, source memory for trial items, and confidence in source memory judgements, but did not affect sentences or critical source memory errors.

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Applied Cognitive Psychology, v. 21, issue 1, p. 45-67