Effects of an evidence-based text on scepticism, methodological reasoning, values and juror decision-making

Barry Leshowitz, Morris Okun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research in social cognition laboratories and in simulated legal settings demonstrates that people often do not understand the statistical properties of evidence and are unable to detect scientifically flawed studies. In a mock jury study, we examined the effects of an evidence-based transcript on skepticism towards evidence obtained in flawed scientific studies, methodological reasoning, personal values (bias) regarding athletes and juror decision-making. Relative to the group that read a trial transcript that appealed to juror emotion, the group that read a transcript that included the steps for analysing the trial's scientific evidence was more likely to show greater scepticism towards the disputed scientific evidence, to display methodological reasoning, to exhibit positive values regarding college athletics and to reject conventional wisdom in rendering a final verdict. Furthermore, the students' scepticism towards the scientific evidence mediated the effect of type of transcript on verdict behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-337
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Psychology
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

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Keywords

  • Conventional wisdom
  • Methodological reasoning
  • Mock jury trial
  • Scepticism
  • Scientific evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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