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Assisting Jurors: Promoting Recall of Trial Information Through the Use of a Trial-Ordered Notebook

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminology Psychology Volume: 19 Issue: 2 Dated: September 2014 Pages: 316-331
Lorraine Hope; Naomi Eales; Arta Mirashi
Date Published
September 2014
16 pages
This study examined the effects of note taking on juror recall of trial information and, specifically, investigated whether providing mock jurors with a pre-structured Trial-Ordered Notebook (TON) was more beneficial for subsequent recall than freestyle note taking by jurors.
Previous research has demonstrated some benefits of freestyle note taking. However, drawing on theories relating to note taking developed in educational contexts, we predicted that providing jurors with a note taking aid designed to follow the trial structure would facilitate enhanced performance on a subsequent recall task. Community-based participants served as mock jurors in a criminal trial and were permitted to take notes during the trial, using either the structured TON or plain paper ('freestyle' note taking) although participants in a control condition were not permitted to take notes. After watching the trial video, all participants reached an individual verdict and responded to cued recall questions concerning details of the trial. Mock jurors using the TON to take notes correctly recorded significantly more legally relevant details during the trial and reported more correct information in the post-trial recall task than participants who took unaided notes (or those who made no notes at all). TON participants also reported more relevant legal information correctly in the recall task and evaluated their experience of note taking more positively than those in the free note taking condition. The findings are discussed in relation to differences in individual experience of taking notes and the benefits that may accrue from an innovative juror aid such as the Trial-Ordered Notebook. (Published Abstract)