Skip to main content

View Diary: Befriending the Talmud, Pt. 4 (A Living God) (18 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  that's interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    My husband once was "excused" from a drunk driving case because he expressed the opinion that how drunk someone was could be affected by their body weight and whether or not they'd eaten before drinking, not just the quantity of alcohol they'd consumed.

    I've been called over half a dozen times in my life and have been "excused" every single time, without even trying, and often just on sight. I'm quite certain that I will never be impaneled, no matter how many more times I am called in. It's not that I want to be on a jury - but I can't help wondering what it is about me that so freaks out the attorneys that they can't wait to get me out of the room. Is it the horns growing out of my head? The third eye?

    It's hard to trust the selection process (and hence the system) because there's no way of knowing what they are basing their decisions on.

    Washington still has capital punishment - people who don't believe in capital punishment are not allowed on cases with the death penalty. So maybe not letting anyone but town drunks on a jury would reflect a similar logic. Here, it seems more likely they'd only accept teetotalers.

    They always want yes or no answers to questions that don't have yes or no answers (unless you're a moron.)

    In any event, I read an interesting study that shows that people tend to make more accurate decisions on their own than they do in groups, so maybe the jury system itself could be improved upon - for example, by keeping all of the jurors separated and not letting them discuss the case with each other.

    •  Good idea... (0+ / 0-)

      Having once served on a jury, I think that your idea of a having jurors make independent decisions had a lot of merit!

      •  it's not my idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Iowa Liberal

        It's from a psychological study I read about in the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking:

        In 2005 an Emory University neuroscientist named Gregory Berns and his team recruited thirty-two volunteers, men and women between the ages of nineteen and forty-one. The volunteers played a game in which each group member was shown two three-dimensional objects on a computer screen and asked to decide whether the first object could be rotated to match the second. The experimenters used an fMRI scanner to take snapshots of the volunteers' brains as they conformed to or broke with group opinion....When the volunteers played the game on their own, they gave the wrong answer only 13.8 percent of the time. But when they played with a group whose members gave unanimously wrong answers, they agreed with the group 41 percent of the time....When the volunteers played alone, the brain scans shows activity in a network of brain regions including the occipital cortex and parietal cortex, which is associated with conscious decision-making. But when they went along with their group's wrong answer....the conformists showed less brain activity in the frontal, decision-making regions and more in the areas of the brain associated with perception....If the group thinks the answer is A, you're much more likely to believe that A is correct, too. It's not that you're saying consciously, "Hmm, I'm not sure, but they all think the answer's A, so I'll go with that." Nor are you saying, "I want them to like me, so I'll just pretend the answer's A."....Most of Bern's volunteers reported having gone along with the group because "they thought that they had arrived serendipitously at the same correct answer"....[the ones who didn't conform] sometimes picked the right answer despite their peers' influence....these moments...were linked to heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with upsetting emotions such as the fear of rejection....
        The point being that this is something the social brain is hard-wired to do, whether people intend for it to happen or not.

        Some years before reading about this study, I was on a mock jury, where I noticed that one opinionated, vocal person swayed the entire room. It is often the case that loquacious people are perceived of as having more credibility. And I know that if people say something often enough, more and more will believe it, even if it violates the laws of physics.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site