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An internal locus of control Essay

An internal locus of control is “the belief that one’s fate is determined by one’s own behavior. ” While the external locus of control is “the belief that what happens is determined not by one’s own actions but by powerful others, luck, and external forces” (Kassin and Wrightsman 1988, 32). What this is saying is that the psychological process of defining the reasoning behind why someone is doing something is that there is either an internal or external locus of control that is determining the factors around the individual.

According to the book on page 313 there are times when a judge can decide that a person who has a particular background, occupation or situation would not be a good juror for a trial. This is because their internal locus of control could sway their decision making ability based on what they know and what they have utilized in their profession. In one instance that was described in the book there were two jurors that were kept out of a trial based on their own internal locus of control. One of these jurors was a scientist while the other worked in credit management.

Based on the case it was considered that these two potential jurors might not be able to look at the situation completely unbiased and therefore these two jurors were let go from the jury. This is one example on how an internal locus of control can affect someone who is a potential juror (Greene, Heilbrun, Fortune, and Nietzel 2006). A way that the external locus of control can affect someone who is a juror is a bit different. What this means is that someone is being influenced by outside influences which would make them biased in some way to the decision making process.

According to the book on page 303 there is a discussion about the interviewing that occurred in the O. J. Simpson trial when looking for jurors. The overwhelming conclusion was that there was a prevalence for African American women to think that some forms of abuse were okay in relationships and this is an external influence to their overall opinions of things. Therefore this influence could influence how the jurors felt about the abuse that O. J. ’s wife had suffered from and therefore they might have a bias (Greene, Heilbrun, Fortune, and Nietzel 2006).

Provide an opinion on whether jurors are able to disregard inadmissible evidence using theories discussed in the text, why or why not? According to the book on pages 338-340 there are a number of ways that a juror can look into disregarding evidence that has been determined to be inadmissible. Whether or not this is really possible is a different story. The text describes some different ways that the evidence can be disregarded. These include the reactance theory which is if instructed to disregard certain information the overall decision making ability of the juror could be compromised.

Through this theory it is common that someone would use some type of thought suppression to block the material from their thoughts. It is thought that even though this material has been marked as inadmissible that it could possibly still influence the jury’s overall decision (Greene, Heilbrun, Fortune, and Nietzel 2006). In my opinion it could be possible for a juror to disregard inadmissible information however it would be very difficult and it might cause problems for the individual as well.

It would be difficult to forget something that was mentioned if it was something that would strongly influence one’s decision however if it was material that was not a big deal then it would not be likely that this would have much influence. In one study that was conducted jurors who were given proacquittal inadmissible information were less likely to convict than those who were given proconviction inadmissible information (Thompson, Fong, and Rosenhan 1981).


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