In our legal system, hindsight judgments are used to evaluate decisions performed in foresight. The extent to which judges and jurors succumb to outcome effects, however, may be dependent on the degree of outcome surprise. The objective of this research is to examine whether the surprise versus causal nature of an outcome would influence the magnitude of outcome effects. It was expected that outcome effects would vary based on the extent of the outcome surprise. That is, outcomes attributable to an increasing degree of unforeseen causes were expected to associate with decreasing outcome effects. Two experiments were conducted involving general jurisdiction judges and prospective jurors. Results revealed that judges and jurors' evaluations were each susceptible to outcome effects. However, while increasing levels of outcome surprise reduced judges' outcome effects, it had no effect on jurors' outcome effects. Given the potential legal consequences, greater understanding of the association between (outcome) surprise and outcome effects is clearly warranted.
- Auditor liability
- Outcome effects
- Outcome surprise
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Information Systems and Management