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

23 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2013

See all articles by Andreas Glöckner

Andreas Glöckner

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

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 2013

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, empowers them to nonetheless make meaningful decisions. These processes, however, have a downside. We tested possible negative effects in a set of studies. Specifically, we investigated whether stricter standards of proof are suppressed by stronger coherence shifts and whether the probative value of the evidence is 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 or the estimated probability of conviction. We argue that reforms in legal procedure should focus on measures to reduce the negative side effects of coherence‐based reasoning in general but, more specifically, to make probabilistic information better evaluable for decisionmakers in law.

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 (June 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 2, pp. 230-252, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2254179 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12009

Andreas Glöckner (Contact Author)

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

Christoph Engel

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

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

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