Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Margaret Kovera

Committee Members

Steven Penrod

Daryl Wout

Jennifer Hunt

Samuel Sommers

Margaret Kovera

Subject Categories

Other Psychology | Social Psychology


Diversity, Jury Decision-Making, Racial Bias


Racial minorities endure unfair treatment in our legal system on a variety of different outcomes, jury decisions in particular. Courts and researchers propose increasing diversity in juries as a method for improving jury deliberations and reducing racially biased outcomes for minority defendants (Peters v. Kiff, 1972; Sommers 2006). In the present research, I investigated the impact of diversity on the quality of deliberations, as defined by both sensitivity to case strength, and by more high quality contributions to deliberations. In the first study, both minority group members and majority group members provided more, higher quality, contributions when they deliberated in diverse juries than when they deliberated in non-diverse juries. However, there was no evidence that diversity increased sensitivity to case strength. In the second study, I manipulated power and wealth using a minimal groups paradigm (MGP), and then created groups that were either diverse or homogenous on this dimension. Diverse juries were more likely to acquit the defendant compared to the non-diverse low wealth/power juries. In addition, jurors deliberating in diverse juries provided more high quality contributions than those deliberating in non-diverse juries. Thus, diversity’s benefits extend to minority jurors and wealth and power may play a role in the quality of jury deliberation.