Dooley edpy 741

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  • Reisberg (2007) describes the strong influence of language in molding our thoughts. By directing our attention to particular details of our experiences, the language we speak and the language we hear form new connections with our prior knowledge, therefore, is critical to a person’s ability to learn; without these relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised.
  • Such lack of prior knowledge and framework may be the case with novices to our legal system, particularly citizens who are selected to serve on a jury trial. This disadvantage is especially true when it comes to complex legal language. With complex legal terms, often communicated through difficult and confusing oral and written language, many jurors have nothing, or very few exemplars, to which to connect complex information.
  • Reisberg (2007) describes the strong influence of language in molding our thoughts. By directing our attention to particular details of our experiences, the language we speak and the language we hear form new connections with our prior knowledge, therefore, is critical to a person’s ability to learn; without these relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised.
  • Such lack of prior knowledge and framework may be the case with novices to our legal system, particularly citizens who are selected to serve on a jury trial. This disadvantage is especially true when it comes to complex legal language. With complex legal terms, often communicated through difficult and confusing oral and written language, many jurors have nothing, or very few exemplars, to which to connect complex information.
  • Most have no previous experience with or knowledge about the legal system and specific aspects of law, but are tasked with recalling critical details of evidence from trial, making decisions on a defendant’s guilt or innocence and, if guilty, deciding the penalty, which in capital sentencing, can mean a person’s life or death.
  • The intent of both plaintiff and defense in a jury trial is to try and influence the jury, who is the final decision-maker on the verdict and the responsible party on awarding damages, if necessary. As mentioned, the only decision-making assistance afforded the jury are prior knowledge and the judges’ charge, or instructions. Since most jurors have very little prior knowledge of legal processes, the jury instructions, therefore, are currently the critical piece and may be the only attempt to provide the concepts for which jurors need to connect and organize complex information in order to make decisions. However, even with simplified judges’ instructions and demonstrated improvement in juror understanding, comprehension remains deplorably low. Although research has shown that less complicated jury instructions do provide marginal benefit, it may be more helpful to provide jurors with additional resources on which to increase their connections.
  • Reisberg (2007) describes the strong influence of language in molding our thoughts. By directing our attention to particular details of our experiences, the language we speak and the language we hear form new connections with our prior knowledge, therefore, is critical to a person’s ability to learn; without these relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised.
  • Reisberg (2007) describes the strong influence of language in molding our thoughts. By directing our attention to particular details of our experiences, the language we speak and the language we hear form new connections with our prior knowledge, therefore, is critical to a person’s ability to learn; without these relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised.
  • Dooley edpy 741

    1. 1. Research Proposal Effects of juror training and note-taking on comprehension of applicable trial law
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Reisberg (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Language has a strong influence in molding our thoughts and decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Language directs our attention and forms new connections with prior knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Without relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Continued: </li></ul><ul><li>Without relevant connections, the ability to learn new concepts is severely compromised </li></ul><ul><li>Most jurors are novices to the legal system and therefore lack prior knowledge/framework </li></ul><ul><li>Complex legal terms, communicated through difficult/confusing oral/written language, affords jurors nothing to which to connect </li></ul>
    4. 4. Language and Thought Introduction
    5. 5. Language and Thought Introduction Complex Legal Language ? ? ? ?
    6. 6. Priest Accountant Bus Driver Student Professor Hair Dresser Cashier Nurse Engineer Journalist Mom Introduction
    7. 7. <ul><li>Understanding Jury Instructions? </li></ul><ul><li>If you decide that one or more sufficient aggravating circumstances exist to warrant the imposition of death, as submitted in Instruction No. 5, you must </li></ul>then determine whether one or more mitigating circumstances exist that outweigh the aggravating circumstance or circumstances so found to exist . In deciding that question, you may consider all the evidence relating to the murder. You may also consider: 1. Whether the murder was committed while the defendant was under extreme mental or emotional disturbance . 2. Whether the capacity of the defendant to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform to the law was substantially impaired . You may also consider an circumstance which you find from evidence in mitigation of punishment . It is not necessary that all jurors agree on the existence of the same mitigating circumstance . If each juror finds one or more mitigating circumstance sufficient to outweigh aggravating circumstances found to exist, then you must return a verdict fixing defendant’s punishment at imprisonment for life by the Division of Corrections without eligibility for probation or parole.
    8. 8. <ul><li>Otto, Applegate, & Davis (2007): </li></ul><ul><li>Jurors’ prior beliefs significantly affected comprehension of applicable law </li></ul><ul><li>Modified instructions to eliminate belief bias improved comprehension accuracy in experimental versus control group (60% versus 46%) </li></ul>Complex Jury Instructions Literature Review
    9. 9. Complex Jury Instructions <ul><li>Weiner, Pritchard, & Weston (1995): </li></ul><ul><li>Jurors miscomprehended jury instructions during penalty phase of capital murder trials </li></ul><ul><li>Clearer, simpler instructions improved comprehension accuracy in experimental versus control group (67% versus 57%) </li></ul>Literature Review
    10. 10. Complex Jury Instructions <ul><li>Diamond & Levi (1996): </li></ul><ul><li>Jurors misunderstood jury responsibility as indicated in jury instructions for guilt and sentencing phase of trial </li></ul><ul><li>Revised instructions improved comprehension accuracy in experimental versus control group (60% versus 50%) </li></ul>Literature Review
    11. 11. Improving Understanding <ul><li>Peters & Nunez (1999): </li></ul><ul><li>Court preparation training (task-demand training and comprehension-monitoring training) improved trial understanding and evidence comprehension in child witnesses (82% v. 54% in experimental v. control group) </li></ul>Literature Review
    12. 12. Improving Understanding <ul><li>ForsterLee, Horowitz & Bourgeois (1994): </li></ul><ul><li>Jurors allowed to take notes during trial recalled significantly more probative evidence and made more correct distinctions in assigning liability and awarding damages than the control group </li></ul>Literature Review
    13. 13. <ul><li>Apart from prior knowledge, only knowledge available to jurors comes from language of jury instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Repeated attempts to increase comprehension via improved jury instruction showed significant, but minimal, improvement </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to improved jury instruction, jurors may benefit from additional resources allowing them to increase connections between legal language and knowledge </li></ul>Rationale for Research
    14. 14. Research Question <ul><li>What are the effects of the following two factors on understanding and comprehension of revised jury instructions: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Juror preparation training </li></ul><ul><li>2. Juror note-taking </li></ul>
    15. 15. Procedures <ul><li>Target Population and Sampling Method : </li></ul><ul><li>160 Jury-eligible South Carolinians who report for jury duty but are not selected; invited after non-selection to immediately participate in a juror research study for which they would be paid $40 for 2 hours </li></ul><ul><li>*Jurors would not be informed of the opportunity for research until after they were not selected as a jury member </li></ul>
    16. 16. Procedures Participants randomly assigned to one of four groups: Note-Taking No Note-Taking Juror Training Group 1 Group 3 No Juror Training Group 2 Baseline Control
    17. 17. Procedures <ul><li>Juror Training: </li></ul><ul><li>Participants in juror training groups (Groups 1 and 3) will receive Task Demand Training (TDT) and Comprehension Monitoring Training (CMT) prior to trial procedures </li></ul><ul><li>*TDT training verbalizes to jurors what to expect in a trial *CMT training shows jurors how to recognize linguistic </li></ul><ul><li>confusion and ask to have questions rephrased for clarity, </li></ul><ul><li>(Peters & Nunez, 1999) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Procedures <ul><li>Juror Note-Taking: </li></ul><ul><li>Participants in juror note-taking groups (Groups 1 and 2) will be allowed to take notes during trial procedures – presentation of evidence and jury instructions (ForsterLee, et al., 1994) </li></ul>
    19. 19. Procedures <ul><li>Design Methods: </li></ul><ul><li>All participants will read a trial fact summary </li></ul><ul><li>(evidence) and applicable jury instructions </li></ul><ul><li>*Jury instructions revised for simplicity, clarity and ease of use based on trial summary and jury instructions by Wiener et al. (1995) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Participants will complete a jury instruction comprehension inventory (jury survey) to test understanding and comprehension of applicable law (Wiener et al., 1995) </li></ul>
    20. 20. Procedures <ul><li>Data Collection Methods: </li></ul><ul><li>Differences Between Instruction Conditions: </li></ul><ul><li>Means, percentages and standard deviations of jury survey items answered correctly for each of the four groups </li></ul><ul><li>2. Comparisons using the analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure (Wiener et al., 1995) </li></ul>
    21. 21. Hypotheses <ul><li>Experimental groups receiving juror preparation training and allowance of note-taking (Group 1 and Group 2) will score significantly higher on comprehension measures of jury instructions compared with the baseline control group. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Hypotheses <ul><li>2. The experimental group receiving both juror preparation training and allowance of note-taking (Group 3) will score significantly higher than all other groups (experimental Groups 1, 2, and the baseline control group). </li></ul>
    23. 23. Limitations <ul><li>Sample will be limited to jury-eligible South Carolinians </li></ul><ul><li>South Carolinians will be tested using Missouri-based trial fact summary and Missouri-approved jury instructions (based on Wiener et al., 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>The complexity of the trial fact summary will not be tested </li></ul><ul><li>Delineation will be limited to jury-eligible South Carolinians (with telephone service) </li></ul>
    24. 24. References <ul><li>Diamond, S.S, & Levi, J.N. (1996). Improving decision on death by revising and testing jury instructions. Judicature, 79, 5, 224-232. </li></ul><ul><li>ForsterLee, L., Horowitz, I.A., & Bourgeois, M.J. (1994). Effects of notetaking on verdicts and evidence processing in a civil trial. Law and Human Behavior, 18, 567-578. </li></ul><ul><li>Otto, C.W., Applegate, B.K., & Davis, R.K. (2007). Improving comprehension of capital sentencing instruction: Debunking juror misconceptions. Crime & Delinquency, 5, 502-517. </li></ul><ul><li>Peters, W.W., & Nunez, N. (1999). Complex language and comprehension monitoring: Teaching child witnesses to recognize linguistic confusion. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 661-669. </li></ul><ul><li>Reisberg, D. (2007). Cognition: exploring the science of the mind (3 rd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. </li></ul><ul><li>Wiener, R.L., Pritchard, C.C., & Weston, M. (1995). Comprehensibility of approved jury instructions in capital murder cases. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 455-467. </li></ul>

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