Jury Selection and Psychology of the Trial
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Despite skepticism that psychologists were mind readers and could manipulate people, coupled with concern over attorneys and even mental health professionals that might overstep their bounds, the area of trial consultation and jury selection has become an important area of forensic psychology. Much of the research and development in this area stems from social psychology, and methods such as public opinion polls, focus groups, mock trials, and analogue jury studies are used to accomplish the goals of, preparing witnesses for their statements and selecting (or, rather, deselecting) jurors in the voir dire, or the process by which juries are chosen for a trial. Forensic psychologists serving as trial consultants also use research to assist the attorney in trial strategies such as decisions on which pieces of evidence to emphasize, how to arrange evidence in terms of order of presentation, preparation of opening and closing statements, and determining when and if a change of venue is necessary in order to obtain a fair trial for clients, among other tasks.
KeywordsTrial consultation Jury selection Voir dire Focus groups Mock trial Witness Evidence presentation
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