Sunday, April 10, 2011

Priming Jurors with American Symbols

Have you ever thought that wearing an American flag lapel pin during trial will positively influence the jury? Have you assumed that invoking the Constitution or symbols people associate with America will unconsciously influence jurors to be more receptive the plaintiff’s narrative. Research, to be published soon, suggests that priming people with symbols of America leads to a shift toward Republican beliefs and values. This was true even in those who consciously expressed more progressive beliefs. So the prime affects liberals and conservatives are equally. It seems implicitly, or explicitly, exposing people to American symbols increases the likelihood of creating people who express politically conservative attitudes.

Thus, priming jurors with American symbols may unconsciously push them to be more conservative. We know that conservatives are more likely to favor tort reform. And, our research shows that jurors who favor tort reform are more likely to apply the descriptive biases of the Jury Bias Model. Using American symbols in trial may well push jurors to act and think more conservatively. You may, thus, unintentionally, influence the liberal jurors to think more conservatively about the your trial narrative. The big point, think carefully before incorporating American symbols in your trial presentation.

For more information about this research here is the link;

1 comment:

  1. I think this illustrates the power of priming and schema. It also may have the effect of making the listener who already shares Republican beliefs be more receptive to your argument. If the juror thinks you think alike and share the same beliefs, it may reduce persuasion resistance and work to your benefit. Maybe we can devise a way to test the prime and study the results.
    Greg Cusimano