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Judge and Jury Decision Making - Essay Example

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Judge and Jury Decision Making

(Vidmar, 1989, p1-8)
In relation to this, there are also certain factors that have to be considered when dealing with particular issues in the justice systems such as expert testimony. Details of psychology in the courtroom and in other aspects of the criminal and civil justice system will be examined in detail below.
There are certain psychological factors that come into play when analysing the criminal and civil justice system. The first one to be considered is communication. Communication is the transmission of information. It can be divided into three main components. These are; verbal communication, vocal communication and non-verbal communication (Berger et al, 1972, p 241-255)
Verbal communication involves the use of written or oral formats to convey specific messages to other parties. Vocal communication involves all the audible aspects of communication such as tone, pitch of voice, rate of speech, intonation and inflexion. In this form of communication, focus is kept on how the message is conveyed rather than the subject matter itself. Lastly, there is non-verbal communication; here, visible elements of communication are considered such as personal appearance, facial behaviours, body orientation, posture, touch, gestures, eye contact and even eye movement. Auditory cues are the main area of emphasis in this case. (Casper & Zeisel, 1992, p135-191)
Psychologists assert that the most influential form of communication in the courtroom is the non-verbal form. Others have argued that in case jurors or judges are faced with situations where the statements presented to them are in contradiction with each other, then chances are that those jurors will rely on non-verbal forms of communication rather than the actual word spoken. Research has shown that many jurors have been convinced by some forms of communication that are not as direct as the spoken word. These gestures, postures etc, are so influential that some jurors may judge the case in favour of the defendant or the prosecutor depending on which side produced the most appealing or positive form of non-verbal communication. (Pennington and Hsati, 1986, 242-258)
As a matter of fact, there are numerous attorneys who use this psychological aspect to sway their jurors' decisions. They may inform their clients; witnesses, suspected offenders and victims about some of these tactics so as to win the hearts of the jurors. For example, when a victim wishes to depict feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence, they would most likely avoid eye contact. Some may be slump their shoulders and talk in mild tones to achieve the same effect. However, this can also work against them because those same gestures can be interpreted in the opposite way; for example one may assume that the witness who avoids eye contact does not believe in himself or he may be deceiving. Sometimes when lawyers want to make their clients seem influential and powerful, they may ...Show more

Summary

In the recent past, psychology has been applied in numerous ways inside the courtroom. This has become so common to the point that it is replacing evidence from religious witnesses. However, there are instances where psychology may not be appropriate. This is because the objectives of these two areas of specialty i.e…
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Judge and Jury Decision Making essay example
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