Date of this Version
Published in Behavioral Sciences and the Law 29 (2011), pp 325–327.
It has been 45 years since Kalven and Zeisel (1966) published their groundbreaking book The American Jury. Since that time, the field of jury decision‐making has grown dramatically. A multitude of social and cognitive influences on juror behavior have been identified, as has the influence of many procedural factors such as jury size, jury decision rule, and jury instructions. Several broad theories have been developed that integrate findings, such as commonsense justice (Finkel, 1995, 2001) and the story model (Pennington & Hastie, 1992). Interestingly, although The American Jury may have marked the beginning of the era of jury decision‐making research, it did not set the tone for how research in the area is typically conducted. Whereas Kalvin and Zeisel studied the behavior of jurors in actual trials, the vast majority of studies that followed have involved trial simulations, with college students used as participants. This sampling approach has become widespread despite frequent criticism from the legal community for using students as mock jurors. In this special issue, we examine the impact of using college students compared with more representative samples of jurors.