The More the Better? Effects of Training and Information Amount in Legal Judgments

25 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2010

See all articles by Stephan Dickert

Stephan Dickert

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Britta Herbig

Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University of Munich

Andreas Glöckner

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

Christina Gansen

University of Bonn

Roman Portack

University of Bonn

Date Written: August 1, 2010

Abstract

In an experimental study we investigated effects of information amount and legal training on the judgment accuracy in legal cases. In a two (legal training: yes vs. no) x two (information amount: high vs. low) between-subjects design, 90 participants judged the premeditation of a perpetrator in eight real-world cases decided by the German Federal Court of Justice. Judgment accuracy was assessed in comparison with the Court’s ruling. Legal training increased judgment accuracy, but did not depend on the amount of information given. Furthermore, legal training corresponded with higher confidence. Interestingly, emotional reactions to the legal cases were stronger when more information was given for individuals without legal training but decreased for individuals with training. This interaction seems to be caused by fundamental differences in the way people construct their mental representations of the cases. We advance an information processing perspective to explain the observed differences in legal judgments and conclude with a discussion on the merits and problems of offering more information to lay people participating in legal decision making.

Suggested Citation

Dickert, Stephan and Herbig, Britta and Glöckner, Andreas and Gansen, Christina and Portack, Roman, The More the Better? Effects of Training and Information Amount in Legal Judgments (August 1, 2010). MPI Collective Goods Preprint No. 2010/34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1654404 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1654404

Stephan Dickert (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

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

Britta Herbig

Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University of Munich ( email )

Ziemssenstr. 1
Munich, 80336
Germany

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 Cologne ( email )

Richard-Strauss-Str. 2
Köln, 50931
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://soccco.uni-koeln.de/andreas-gloeckner.html

Christina Gansen

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Roman Portack

University of Bonn ( email )

Regina-Pacis-Weg 3
Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

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