Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=889191
 


 



Suppressing the Expression of Community Values in Juries: How Legal Priming Systematically Alters the Way People Think


Justin D. Levinson


University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law


University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, pp. 1059-1079, 2005

Abstract:     
Legal systems that rely on juries assume that juror decision-making imports an accurate representation of community values and norms into legal decisions. Yet, rather than successfully importing community values into legal decision-making, the notion of "the law" itself may act as a unique cultural construct that primes jurors to unconsciously think in terms of shared implicit constructs of "law", "juror" and "justice" when in the legal setting. The author examined how lay decision-making changed in the United States and in China when dependent variables were framed as questions of legal impact. Results indicated that participants in both countries scored identical questions differently when questions were primed as legal questions, but that participants from each country were affected in opposite directions by the legal prime. American participants in the legal prime category made more culpable criminal judgments than participants in the non-legal domain, indicating that the legal context heightens culpability judgments for Americans. In contrast, Chinese participants in the legal prime category made less culpable judgments than in the non-legal domain, demonstrating that Chinese are more lenient in the legal setting than in lay judgments. The results raise the question of whether community values are truly reflected in jury decision making, or whether shared, primed notions of law and justice unconsciously overcome the influence of life experience and cultural diversity in decision-making. The author discusses whether implicit and prejudicial stereotypes may be systematically harbored in the American "legal culture".

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: Juries, culture, psychology, decision-making, community values, legal culture, mass media, China, priming, stereotypes

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K41, D70, J70, K33, K19

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: March 22, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Levinson, Justin D., Suppressing the Expression of Community Values in Juries: How Legal Priming Systematically Alters the Way People Think. University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, pp. 1059-1079, 2005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=889191

Contact Information

Justin D. Levinson (Contact Author)
University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )
2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,118
Downloads: 147
Download Rank: 111,876

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.344 seconds