Guilty or not guilty - trust, affect, & cognition in mock juror decision making

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University of Alabama Libraries

Legitimacy, more specifically, trust in legal authorities and procedural fairness, has garnered a great deal of significance in the legal system and society. The current study assessed the construct dimensionality of trust in legal authorities and procedural fairness to serve as the initial steps for the development of a brief measure of trust in legal authorities and procedural fairness. Moreover, this study investigated whether the relationship between trust in legal authorities, procedural fairness, need for affect (NFA), need for cognition (NFC), need for cognitive closure (NFCS), and individual demographic characteristics predict juror outcome decisions. Participants were given individual difference measures (i.e., NFA, NFC, NFCS), the trust in legal authorities measure, a case scenario, juror outcome decision questionnaire, and demographic questionnaire. A principal component analysis was conducted with 42 items using an oblique rotation (promax). Five statistically significant components, as determined through parallel analysis, explained 53.29% of the variance in trust in legal authorities and procedural fairness. This inductive approach indicated that trust in legal authorities and procedural fairness was comprised of five dimensions: trust in police, institutional trust in courts, procedural fairness- voice, motive-based trust in courts, and procedural fairness – neutrality. Moreover, a binary logistic regression indicated that trust in police and procedural fairness – voice significantly predicted juror outcome decisions. A discussion of these results along with the limitations of this study and future research is discussed.

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Criminology, Psychology