Dateline: January, 2008, Issue 4

Which jurors are most influenced by the use of courtroom technology?

Some jurors are thinkers and enjoy such activities as effortful thinking, sudoku, logic puzzles, and playing chess. These "thinking" jurors pay close attention to and scrutinize carefully what is said to them. These jurors have what is called a high need for cognition.

Other jurors are less motivated to engage in effortful thinking. These jurors have a low need for cognition.

Binder (2007) found that the use of courtroom technology was persuasive for jurors with a low need for cognition (i.e., non-thinkers), but not for jurors with a high need for cognition (i.e., thinkers).

However, an expert witness offering strong testimony was more credible to jurors when the testimony was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation than when not accompanied by the PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint presentation had no effect on weak testimony.

In sum, courtroom technology aids strong (rather than weak) arguments, and is particularly compelling to jurors having a low need for cognition.

Source Binder, D. M. (2007). The relationship between need for cognition, argument strength, and the persuasiveness of courtroom technology. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 67(8-B), p. 4757.