This study explored the influence of mood and emotion on mock-jurors' processing of testimonial inconsistencies, perceptions of witness credibility and offender culpability, and verdicts. Jurors' mood and testimonial consistency were manipulated using a simulated trial with a 2 (mood: sad/neutral) x 2 (testimonial consistency: consistent/inconsistent) between-groups design. Sad mood resulted in more accurate reporting of testimonial inconsistencies, a finding consistent with previous research indicating more substantive processing in association with sad mood. Direct relationships between veridicality and number of inconsistencies detected and mock-juror judgments were also observed. Although anger was not experimentally manipulated, the data suggest that trial circumstances which arouse anger in jurors may impair processing and also bias their judgments of witnesses and defendants. Possible directions for research on mood and emotion in the courtroom context are suggested.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.