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Can We Trust Intuitive Jurors? Standards of Proof and the Probative Value of Evidence in Coherence Based Reasoning

Posted: 3 Dec 2008 Last revised: 13 May 2013

Andreas Glöckner

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Hagen

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2008

Abstract

Jury members are confronted with highly complex, ill-defined problems. Coherence based reasoning (Pennington & Hastie, 1992; Simon, 2004), which partially relies on intuitive-automatic processing (Glöckner & Betsch, 2008), empowers them to nonetheless make meaningful decisions. These processes, however, have a downside. We tested possible negative effects in a set of studies. Particularly, we investigated whether standards of proof are muted by stronger coherence shifts, and whether the probative value of the evidence is not properly taken into account. We found that U.S. model jury instructions for preponderance of the evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt influence conviction rates in the intended direction and are not undermined by coherence shifts, although probabilistic estimations of these standards are inappropriate. However even massive changes in explicitly stated probabilities, while holding the overall constellation of facts constant, did not influence conviction rates and the estimated probability for conviction. We argue that improvements for legal procedure should focus on measures to circumvent the negative side-effects of coherence based reasoning in general and to specifically make probabilistic information better evaluable for decision makers in law.

Keywords: Standards of Proof, Decision Making, Parallel Constraint Satisfaction, Probabilities, Story Model, Intuition

Suggested Citation

Glöckner, Andreas and Engel, Christoph, Can We Trust Intuitive Jurors? Standards of Proof and the Probative Value of Evidence in Coherence Based Reasoning (October 1, 2008). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2008/36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1307580 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1307580

Andreas Glöckner

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/team/page/andreas_gloeckner

University of Hagen ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 27
Bocholt, D-58097
Germany

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

c/o Prof. Dr. Schneider
Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

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