Behav Sci Law. 2011 Feb 8. doi: 10.1002/bsl.968. [Epub ahead of print]
A comparison of students' and jury panelists' decision-making in split recovery cases.
Fox P, Wingrove T, Pfeifer C.
Appalachian State University, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 32109, 222 Joyce Lawrence Ln., Boone, NC 28608, U.S.A.. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This study was designed to assess jury decision-making for 289 participants reading a medical malpractice vignette as a function of participant type (undergraduate students or jury panelists), punitive damage award apportionment (none, half, or all to the plaintiff), and compensation previously assigned to the plaintiff (low, medium, or high). We found several sample differences. Overall, jury panelists awarded more money for punitive damages. Jury panelists were also more affected by compensatory-relevant information when making punitive decisions, including assigning punitive damages and rating the fairness of the traditional apportionment scheme, where the plaintiff receives all of the money. Compared with students, more jury panelists were in favor of the plaintiff receiving the entire punitive award. Most students endorsed split recovery. The authors suggest that psycholegal research conducted solely with student samples, rather than community members, may misestimate the likely behavior of actual juries. The implications of the study for split recovery policy are also discussed.