Publication details [#14749]

Voss, James F. and Julie A. Van Dyke. 2001. Narrative Structure, Information Certainty, Emotional Content, and Gender as Factors in a Pseudo Jury Decision-Making Task. Discourse Processes 32 (2&3) : 215–243.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Lawrence Erlbaum


Argumentation was studied in a courtroom context in which the prosecuting attorney's summary is assumed to be an argument with "X is guilty" as the claim and the narrative, which contains the evidence of the case, providing support for the claim. In Experiment 1, quality of evidence, narrative coherence, and gender were studied. In Experiments 2A and 2B the role of uncertainty of narrative information, emotional expressions in the narrative, and gender were studied. Both crime-related and non-crime-related uncertain information produced lower guilt ratings and lower ratings of narrative goodness than the baseline, suggesting jury doubt occurs with any narrative uncertainty. Victim-related emotional expressions produced lower guilt ratings than the baseline, although these were mediated by the particular story read. Effects of defendant-related emotional expressions depended on gender and narrative contents. The gender results suggest men respond more heuristically, focusing primarily on evidence, whereas women process the narrative more comprehensively.