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Faced with the problems of insufficient evidence, of [#permalink]
30 Jan 2011, 13:57
This post was BOOKMARKED
Faced with the problems of insufficient evidence, of conflicting evidence, and of evidence relayed through the flawed perceptual, retentive, and narrative abilities of witnesses, a jury is forced to draw inferences in its attempt to ascertain the truth. By applying the same cognitive tools they have developed and used over a lifetime, jurors engage in the inferential exercise that lawyers call fact-finding. In certain decision-making contexts that are relevant to the trial of lawsuits, however, these normally reliable cognitive tools may cause jurors to commit inferential errors that distort rather than reveal the truth.
Although juries can make a variety of inferential errors, most of these mistakes in judgment involve the drawing of an unwarranted conclusion from the evidence, that is, in reality, it does not prove. For example, evidence that the defendant in a criminal prosecution has a prior conviction may encourage jurors to presume the defendant’s guilt, because of their preconception that a person previously convicted of a crime must be inclined toward repeated criminal behavior. That commonly held belief is at least a partial distortion of reality; not all former convicts engage in repeated criminal behavior. Also, a jury may give more probative weight than objective analysis would allow to vivid photographic evidence depicting a shooting victim’s wounds, or may underestimate the weight of defense testimony that is not delivered in a sufficiently forceful or persuasive manner. Finally, complex or voluminous evidence might be so confusing to a jury that its members would draw totally unwarranted conclusions or even ignore the evidence entirely.
Recent empirical research in cognitive psychology suggests that people tend to commit inferential errors like these under certain predictable circumstances. By examining the available information, the situation, and the type of decision being made, cognitive psychologists can describe the kinds of inferential errors a person or a group is likely to make. These patterns of human decision-making may provide the courts with a guide to evaluating the effect of evidence on the reliability of the jury’s inferential processes in certain situations.
The fact that juries can commit inferential errors that jeopardize the accuracy of the fact-finding process is not unknown to the courts. In fact, one of a presiding judge’s duties is to minimize jury inferential error through explanation and clarification. Nonetheless, most judges now employ only a limited and primitive concept of jury inferential error: limited because it fails to recognize the potential for errors outside certain traditional situations, primitive because it ignores the research and conclusions of psychologists in favor of notions about human cognition held by lawyers.
Que 1 . Which of the following best explains the main idea of the passage? (A) When making decisions in certain predictable situations, juries may commit inferential errors that obscure rather than reveal the truth. (B) The views of human cognition held by psychologists on the one hand and by the legal profession are demonstrably dissimilar. (C) When confronting powerful preconceptions, particularly shocking evidence, or complex situations, jurors make errors in judgment. (D) The problem of inferential error by juries is typical of the difficulties with cognitive processes that people face in their everyday lives. (E) Juries would probably make more reliable decisions if cognitive psychologists, rather than judges, instructed them about the problems inherent in drawing unwarranted conclusions.
Que2 : “It can be inferred from the passage that the author would be most likely to agree with which of the following generalizations about lawyers?” (A) They have a less sophisticated understanding of human cognition than do psychologists. (B) They often present complex or voluminous information merely in order to confuse a jury. (C) They are no better at making logical inferences from the testimony at a trial than are most judges. (D) They have worked to help judges minimize jury inferential error. (E) They are unrealistic about the ability of jurors to ascertain the truth.
Que3. “The author would be most likely to agree with which one of the following generalizations about a jury’s decisionmaking process?” (A) The more evidence a jury has, the more likely it is that the jury will reach a reliable verdict. (B) Juries usually overestimate the value of visual evidence such as photographs. (C) Jurors have preconceptions about the behavior of defendants that prevent them from making an objective analysis of the evidence in a criminal trial. (D) Most of the jurors who make inferential errors during a trial do so because they are unaccustomed to having to make difficult decisions based on inferences. (E) The manner in which evidence is presented to a jury may influence the jury either to overestimate or to underestimate the value of that evidence.
Re: Tough passage : Help require [#permalink]
31 Jan 2011, 01:22
Q1 IMO answer is A. as this passage solely talks about the Jury's incapability of arriving to the decision based on inferential technique. Then author goes on to provide example and psychological facts which supports his view point. hence this passage is concerned about the flawed technique use by jury which could obscure the truth in some cases.
Q2: E -In the first paragraph, the author mentioned that Lawyers' overestimate the jury's ability to reach the truth by stating "By applying the same cognitive tools they have developed and used over a lifetime, jurors engage in the inferential exercise that lawyers call fact-finding". Therefore we can infer that by this author meant that Lawyers think that using this technique Jury could make Right judgement without obscuring truth.
Q3: E Again due to overcomplicated facts or evidences presented to the Jury. Jury uses inferential techq to their aid to reach the judgement.
Interesting topic. I hope that helps. Please post the OA.
Re: Tough passage : Help require [#permalink]
20 Feb 2011, 11:22
1 - B (changed from A after reading tirupatibalaj's answers) 2 - A (disagree with E because of 'primitive because it ignores the research and conclusions of psychologists in favor of notions about human cognition held by lawyers' at the end of the text) 3 - E (some hints are mentioned in 2nd and 3rd paragraphs)
Re: Faced with the problems of insufficient evidence, of [#permalink]
08 Aug 2012, 09:32
Can someone explain how to pick C vs E on the last question , as far as I see information for both the C and E is present , C is presented through an example in the first para "as a prior conviction may encourage jurors to presume the defendant’s guilt, because of their preconception that a person previously convicted of a crime must be inclined toward repeated criminal behavior. That commonly held belief is at least a partial distortion of reality" , E is also present in next line. How to eliminate C?