Borrowing a tool from social scientists, academic researchers studying jury dynamics now run tests on groups pulled from the online marketplace Amazon Mechanical Turk. One study by Jessica Salerno, an assistant professor at Arizona State University, found that Mechanical Turk mock jurors were more likely to vote guilty when the graphic crime photos shown them were in color.
The trial consulting firm DecisionQuest has built its own Web tool with 3.5 million mock jurors. A legal team can use it, for example, to test the impact of different arguments.
In 24 to 48 hours, online jury research can provide the same number of responses that traditional jury research provides in one to two months. Lawyer Michael Cypers recently used online sampling to help a client decide whether to take a settlement offer with a 10-day time limit. It was helpful, he says, to know that the online jurors were skeptical of the fraud claim against his client and not convinced that negligence was involved.
An online mock jury exercise can cost $5,000 to $20,000, whereas a live mock jury costs $50,000 to $150,000. Mechanical Turk workers will take a 20-minute survey for as little as $5 per person, explains lawyer Jonas Jacobson, a trial preparation expert.
The Focal Point, a firm specializing in the visual presentation of cases, sometime uses online testing to evaluate whether evidence like simple diagrams or 3-D animations is well-recalled and useful in mock deliberations.
Cypers says that while this testing is useful, it won’t replace testing with live mock jurors, which offers the opportunity to “look in their eyes and see how they respond.”
How SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket might unlock the solar system—and beyond
With the first orbital test launch of Starship on the horizon, scientists are dreaming about what it might make possible— from trips to Neptune to planetary defense.
DeepMind says its new language model can beat others 25 times its size
RETRO uses an external memory to look up passages of text on the fly, avoiding some of the costs of training a vast neural network
The therapists using AI to make therapy better
Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.
What it will take to unleash the potential of geothermal power
Four new pilot plants funded by the US infrastructure bill could help expand the range of the “forgotten renewable.”
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.