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PLoS One. 2019 Feb 19;14(2):e0212491. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212491. eCollection 2019.

The impact of individual differences on jurors' note taking during trials and recall of trial evidence, and the association between the type of evidence recalled and verdicts.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
2
Department of Psychology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

Abstract

Although note taking during trials is known to enhance jurors' recall of trial evidence, little is known about whether individual differences in note taking underpin this effect. Individual differences in handwriting speed, working memory, and attention may influence juror's note taking. This, in turn, may influence their recall. It may also be the case that if jurors note down and recall more incriminating than non-incriminating evidence (or vice versa), then this may predict their verdict. Three studies examined the associations between the aforementioned individual differences, the amount of critical evidence jurors noted down during a trial, the amount of critical evidence they recalled, and the verdicts they reached. Participants had their handwriting speed, short-term memory, working memory, and attention assessed. They then watched a trial video (some took notes), reached a verdict, and recalled as much trial information as possible. We found that jurors with faster handwriting speed (Study 1), higher short-term memory capacity (Study 2), and higher sustained attention capacity (Study 3) noted down, and later recalled, the most critical trial evidence. However, working memory storage capacity, information processing ability (Study 2) and divided attention (Study 3) were not associated with note taking or recall. Further, the type of critical evidence jurors predominantly recalled predicted their verdicts, such that jurors who recalled more incriminating evidence were more likely to reach a guilty verdict, and jurors who recalled more non-incriminating evidence were less likely to do so. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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