Extra‐legal factors and product liability: The influence of mock jurors' demographic characteristics and intuitions about the cause of an injury

Brian H. Bornstein, Michelle Rajki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Two experiments were performed to investigate the role of extra‐legal factors in a simulated product liability trial. In cases where the factual evidence was identical, subjects' liability judgments varied as a function of the case‐specific factor of the alleged source of the plaintiffs injury. In deciding cases differently depending on the alleged cause, subjects relied on intuitions about what injury sources are more or less likely to cause a certain kind of injury. Juror‐specific factors also influenced subjects' verdicts. There was no difference between students and non‐students, but race and SEC—factors that are often correlated with student status—did affect subjects' verdicts. Low‐SES and minority subjects were more likely to find the defendant liable than high‐SES and white subjects. The results are considered in terms of general decision‐making processes, and the implications for jury selection and mock jury research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-147
Number of pages21
JournalBehavioral sciences & the law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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