I am a decision scientist and apply decision making theories to juror decision making within my PhD at Edinburgh Napier University. Although my research is very much theory driven, it has applications to the criminal justice system. My PhD focusses on the decision making strategies and processes of jurors. I study how pre-trial biases, cognitive fallacies, and changes in the legal environment have an impact on both juror outcomes and juror processes. My research has utilised theories from psychology and mathematics in an attempt to find a model that can reliably describe the decision making processes of jurors.
My current research project looks to compare the decision making processes and outcomes of jurors in a three-verdict system (where jurors can give a guilty, a not guilty or a not proven verdict) with the Anglo-American two-verdict system (where only guilty and not guilty verdicts are available). The three-verdict system, specifically the not proven verdict, has seen quite a lot of controversy of late, with several politicians trying to remove this ‘not proven’ option.