Juries have a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. They determine the outcomes of trials, including whether a defendant is found guilty or not guilty and, in some cases, what the penalty will be. With the authority to deprive citizens of their freedom and potentially their lives, a fair trial requires that juries function as they should — without bias.

But do they function this way? Are juries capable of disregarding inadmissible evidence?  Can they understand the instructions that they are given by the judge? And if not, what safeguards or changes would help?

Research on juries once served as a pillar of psychological scholarship, but publication of such research has slowed considerably in recent years. This volume summarizes what is known about the psychology of juries and makes a strong call to arms for more research.

Margaret Bull Kovera and other esteemed jury scholars identify important, yet understudied, topics at the intersection of psychology and law, review what research is currently available on the topics, and then suggest new research questions that would advance the field. Furthermore, the authors evaluate the relative importance of research methods that emphasize generalizability versus tight experimental control.

This book presents a comprehensive survey of the literature on jury behavior and decision making and offers a robust agenda to keep researchers busy in years to come.

Table of Contents



Introduction: An Overview
Margaret Bull Kovera

I. Important but Understudied Topics in Jury Research

  1. Integrating Individual and Group Models of Juror Decision Making
    Lora M. Levett and Dennis Devine
  2. The Effects of Collaborative Remembering on Trial Verdicts
    William Hirst and Charles B. Stone
  3. Integrating Concepts of Trial Advocacy Into Juror Decision-Making Research
    Christina A. Studebaker
  4. Studying the Effects of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture on Jury Behavior
    Jennifer S. Hunt
  5. Juries Compared With What? The Need for a Baseline and Attention to Real World Complexity
    Jennifer K. Robbennolt and Theodore Eisenberg
  6. Global Juries: A Plan for Research
    Valerie P. Hans, Hiroshi Fukurai, Sanja Kutnjak Ivković, and Jaihyun Park

II. Validity and Trial Simulation Methodology

  1. Jury Simulation Goals
    Jonathan J. Koehler and John B. Meixner, Jr.
  2. Managing Different Aspects of Validity in Trial Simulation Research
    Daniel A. Krauss and Joel D. Lieberman
  3. Jury Simulation Research: Pros, Cons, Trends, and Alternatives
    Brian H. Bornstein
  4. How Typical is Lockhart v. McCree? Ecological Validity Concerns in Court Opinions
    Mary R. Rose

III. Synthesis and Future Directions

  1. Suggested Do's and Don'ts for Future Jury Research: A Swan Song
    Norbert L. Kerr

Conclusion: The Future of Jury Research
Margaret Bull Kovera


About the Editor

Editor Bio

Margaret Bull Kovera, PhD, is Presidential Scholar and a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She received her BA and PhD in psychology from Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota, respectively.

She is a Fellow of APA, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychology–Law Society (APLS), and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She is a past president of APLS and the editor-in-chief of Law and Human Behavior.

Dr. Kovera received the Saleem Shah Award for Early Career Achievement in Psychology and Law and the APLS Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.

Reviews & Awards
  • Division 41 American Psychology-Law Society 2018 Book Award Winner

Overall, this excellent book has renewed my confidence in the future of jury research and is highly recommended for advanced students, legal practitioners, and new and current jury researchers.

A seminal and informative work of impressive scholarship.
—Midwest Book Review

This remarkable volume is the go-to book for scholars of the jury process. Not only does it have outstanding analyses of jury research by the best thinkers in our field, it also charms and engages the reader. All graduate students, faculty, and psychology-law practitioners should have this book on their desks.
—Stanley L. Brodsky, PhD
The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

The jury system and its role in dispensing justice are sometimes met with fascination, applause, skepticism, scrutiny, and even bewilderment. Kovera pulls together the world's leading authorities on the social science of juries. These scholars shed new light on the processes by which juries reach decisions, the comparison of jury systems with other justice systems, and jury research methodology. The result is a comprehensive, contemporary review of the jury from the social science perspective.
—Brian Cutler, PhD
Professor, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Scholars have been studying juries for 50 years. Kovera and colleagues identify the substantial contributions scholars have made, but, more important, they lay the groundwork for the work that still needs to be done to understand this unique body of lay decision makers. In this book, the next generation of jury researchers will find valuable guidance for producing answers to significant remaining questions about the jury.
—Shari Seidman Diamond, JD, PhD
Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Chicago, IL

This well-curated volume tackles questions of enormous consequence to jury scholars and the courts: What are the important yet overlooked areas of inquiry, and what are the best ways to study them? Both seasoned researchers and those venturing into this field for the first time should spend some time with this book. The former will be reinvigorated and the latter will get a giant head start.
—Edie Greene, PhD
Professor of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs