Tess Neal, assistant professor of psychology, and Nicholas Schweitzer, associate professor with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, both in Arizona State University's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $14,772 in supplemental REU funding from the National Science Foundation to hire and mentor undergraduate research assistants. This funding supplements their grant, "Calibration in Court: Jurors' Use of Scientific Information."
To assess the issue of interpretation of scientific evidence in court, this project uses an experimental approach to examine jurors' ability to interpret and act on scientific evidence. The project includes two jury simulation experiments designed to test whether fuzzy trace theory, a well-developed theory in cognitive science, applies in the context of jury research, particularly when compared to other safeguards for jury decision making with respect to scientific evidence.
This multidisciplinary, multi-method research will examine when and how jurors' inferences are appropriately calibrated to the strength of scientific information, whether a safeguard derived from decision-making theory can improve that calibration, and how various measures relevant to the processing of scientific information are related to one another. The project addresses fundamental questions about how humans reason with and make inferences and decisions based on the quality of relevant scientific data.
Principal investigator Tess Neal and co-principal investigator Nicholas Schweitzer are two of the founding faculty members of ASU's Program on Law and Behavioral Science.