Mitigating Pretrial Publicity With A Cognitive Interview

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hannah Marie Jackson (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Christopher Dickinson

Abstract: Previous research has found that negative pretrial publicity (PTP) about a defendant biases mock jurors’ decision making. Remedies that have been implemented by the court systems to combat negative PTP have shown to be ineffective in reducing juror bias. The present study examined whether or not mock jurors who were exposed to negative PTP could have an improved memory of where information came from and a reduction in guilty verdicts after receiving a Modified Cognitive Interview (CI), compared to mock jurors who did not have the CI. Additionally, I tested to see if source-memory accuracy for trial information mediated the effect of the CI on verdicts. The present study used materials from Christine Ruva to investigate this issue. This was a two-part study, in which participants read the negative PTP or unrelated PTP in Phase 1. In Phase 2 participants received the CI, watched the criminal trial video, and finally rendered their verdicts and took the source monitoring questionnaire. This was a 2 (PTP: Negative PTP vs. unrelated PTP) X 2 (Interview: Cognitive Interview vs. No Cognitive Interview) between-subjects factorial design (n=163). Results indicated that the CI did not influence source memory. In contrast, it was found that the CI did influence guilt decisions. Individuals who were exposed to negative PTP and received the CI rendered fewer guilty verdicts than participants in the no CI condition. Further, the mediation analysis suggested that both the CI and trial accuracy scores did predict guilt decisions independently for the negative PTP conditions, however the trial accuracy scores did not mediate the relationship between the CI and guilt decisions.

Additional Information

Jackson, H. (2019). Mitigating Pretrial Publicity With A Cognitive Interview. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Pretrial publicity, juror bias, jury decision-making, source memory, cognitive interview

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