The Young Researcher (2019-08-01)

Spatial cognition in the courtroom: A quasi-experimental study of the influence Canadian courtroom design has on jury cognition

  • Zhang, C.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 1
pp. 33 – 49

Abstract

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As efforts to reform the Canadian criminal justice system progresse, there has been a rise in attention towards legal realist jurisprudence and the realm of legal architecture. This study aims to identify the degree of influence Canadian courtroom design has on a juror's perceptions of the defendant. Through a quasi-experimental research method, 44 high school students aged 14-18 served as jury members across a series of four trial recreations, each with a different layout. Afterward, they were then required to complete a post-test questionnaire. Three trials resulted in guilty verdicts, while one received a verdict of innocent. From the data gathered, it was concluded that the layout of Trial C had a significant degree of influence over a juror’s cognition and worked to attract higher rates of innocent verdicts in comparison to other courtroom designs.

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