Although limiting instructions are provided for specific evidence that may have a negative impact on jurors’ decision-making, there may be individual differences in the effectiveness of the instructions. The individual predisposition towards the enjoyment of cognitive activity is called need for cognition (NFC), and individuals high in NFC tend to seek out and engage in cognitive activity spontaneously. The present study examined the influence of NFC and limiting instructions about emotional evidence on mock jurors’ legal decision-making. The results showed that mock jurors who were lower in NFC were more likely to render a guilty decision than those higher in NFC, and that the tendency was more salient when the limiting instructions were presented compared with when they were not presented. Similar results were found in regard to sentencing decisions and arousal of anger. A partial mediation effect of anger was found between NFC and verdict decisions. The influence of NFC on the limiting instructions and legal decision-making as well as the effect of anger on the decision is discussed in relation to these results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health