Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Margaret Kovera

Committee Members

Saul Kassin

Steven Penrod

Steven Young

Christine Ruva

Subject Categories

Other Psychology | Social Psychology


jury selection, conformity, bias, pretrial publicity, impartiality, decision making


The courts have long acknowledged pretrial publicity (PTP) as a source of juror bias. To safeguard defendants due process rights, jurors who harbor bias are frequently asked during voir dire if they can set aside their bias and be fair and impartial. Yet, jurors’ self-reports of their ability to be fair and impartial are largely inaccurate. For example, regardless of their level of exposure to PTP, jurors typically report an ability to be fair and impartial. Therefore, this method of so-called “juror rehabilitation” is ineffective. This project examines conformity pressures that may be inhibiting accurate self-reporting during juror rehabilitation and tests the effectiveness of a novel intervention for increasing the accuracy of jurors’ self-reports. Jurors overwhelmingly reported an ability be impartial even when they were exposed to PTP but still demonstrated bias from PTP in their verdict decisions. Efforts to minimize conformity pressures and lessen PTP bias were ineffective. It is therefore critical that the courts reconsider this practice of juror rehabilitation and explore more appropriate measures for evaluating juror bias.