I am a decision scientist and I apply decision making models 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. 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 of jurors in a three-verdict system (where jurors can give a Guilty, a Not Guilty or a Not Proven verdict) with jurors in a two-verdict system (where only Guilty and Not Guilty verdicts are available). The not proven verdict has seen quite a lot of controversy of late, with several politicians trying to remove this ‘Not Proven’ option.