Individual and Group Decision Making: Current Issues

By N. John Castellan Jr. | Go to book overview

One serious limitation of the studies is that, although the findings were reliable between Experiments 1 and 2, the results could differ when different cases are employed. However, research conducted by Finkel ( Finkel, 1988; Finkel et al., 1986; Finkel & Handel, 1989) suggests that, although jurors may arrive at different verdicts for different defendants, their verdicts are not significantly influenced by insanity defense instructions. Similarly, James ( 1959b) found that the jurors' accuracy rate for the insanity defense instructions was lower than that for any of the other material participants were asked to recall. Nonetheless, future researchers will want to test the reliability of the findings obtained herein by using other cases.

Obviously, the results reported here represent only another small step in a course of research that must be conducted if we are ever to learn the true impact that instructions about insanity have on juror--and jury--decision making. Future researchers must strive to enhance the external validity of their research, without losing too much control over the extraneous variables. Similarly, as noted in the introduction, researchers need to conduct longitudinal archival research using time-series methodology to attempt to determine whether the increases in insanity acquittal rates that have been found in some archival studies are actually caused by the change in the insanity defense.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This chapter was made possible in part by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Research Grant awarded to the author. I would like to thank Gary Melton, Norman Finkel, David Finkelman, and Ronald Roesch for their comments on previous versions of this work. Some of the material in this chapter appeared in Ogloff ( 1991).


REFERENCES

American Psychiatric Association. ( 1982). Statement on the insanity defense. Washington, DC: Author.

Arens R. ( 1967). The Durham rule in action: Judicial psychiatry and psychiatric justice. Law and Society Review, 41-80.

Arens R., Granfield D. D., & Susman J. ( 1965). "Jurors, jury charges and insanity". Catholic University Law Review, XIV, 1-29.

Arens R., & Susman J. ( 1966). "Judges, jury charges and insanity". Howard Law Journal, 12, 1-34.

American Law Institute. ( 1962). Model penal code. Washington, DC: Author.

Blunt L. W., & Stock H. V. ( 1985). "Guilty but mentally ill: An alternative verdict". Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 8, 49-67.

Callahan L., Mayer C., & Steadman H. J. ( 1987). "Insanity defense reform in the United States-post Hinckley". Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter, 11, 54-59.

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