The Intuitive Approach

The intuitive approach to jury selection may provide for colorful stories from inside the courtroom, but the consequences of this kind of stereotyping for jus- tice can be troubling for two reasons. First, if lawyers approach a prospective juror with a set of expectations, say, based on stereotypes, they are likely to ask questions designed to confirm their beliefs and increase the likelihood of doing so. Several social psychology studies have demonstrated that this type of confirmation bias can produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the venue of jury selection, the same process is at work. In a mock trial study, prac- ticing attorneys were asked to prepare a voir dire strategy on the basis of juror profiles. The results showed that they formulated theories, asked questions to test those theories, and ultimately formed conclusions that were biased by the ques- tions they asked.

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