Emotional Evidence in Court

Research Handbook on Law and Emotion, Susan Bandes, et al. (eds.) (Edward Elgar Press) (Forthcoming)

Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-02

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 19-09

37 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019 Last revised: 29 Apr 2019

See all articles by Hannah Phalen

Hannah Phalen

Arizona State University (ASU)

Jessica M. Salerno

Arizona State University

Janice Nadler

Northwestern University - School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: April 21, 2019

Abstract

In the law, emotion is often viewed as extraneous to jury decision-making—either as an unavoidable byproduct of certain types of evidence or an impediment to the decision-making process. Even when the legal system does acknowledge the impact of emotion, it tends to overgeneralize across different types of emotions and legal judgments. Growing consensus in psychological science, however, reveals a much more complicated story. Emotion is not extraneous but rather inextricably intertwined with cognitive decision-making processes and its impact can be very different depending on the type of emotion and the type of legal judgment. The notion that instructing jurors to ignore their feelings will purge emotion from the jury box reflects an oversimplification of human decision-making processes. We describe how experimental methodology within psychological science can shed light on how emotions can affect jurors’ decision-making processes, with the goal of developing a more nuanced model of the role that juror emotions play in evidence evaluation and legal decision making.

Keywords: emotion, psychology, experimental methods, trials, juries, evidence

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Phalen, Hannah and Salerno, Jessica M. and Nadler, Janice, Emotional Evidence in Court (April 21, 2019). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-02; Research Handbook on Law and Emotion, Susan Bandes, et al. (eds.) (Edward Elgar Press) (Forthcoming); Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-02; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 19-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3376182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3376182

Hannah Phalen (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Jessica M. Salerno

Arizona State University ( email )

4701 W Thunderbird Rd (MC 3051)
Glendale, AZ 85034
United States

Janice Nadler

Northwestern University - School of Law

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-3228 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

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