Everybody — you, me, and jurors included — function in motivated reasoning when our beliefs, attitudes, and values are at stake.
This is where confirmation bias kicks in (which I discussed in the previous post and will write more).
Now get this: Studies have demonstrated that people who consider themselves highly analytical are more likely to twist or dismiss counterevidence than are people with low reasoning ability! Tali Sharot writes about this in her fascinating book, The Influential Mind.
So, Dr. Sharot concludes, motivated reasoning, which often is attributed to less intelligent people, actually can function more robustly in highly intelligent people.
And, naturally, a highly intelligent juror is often a leader in deliberations.
A recent article in a British psychological research digest concludes with this gem: “… [B]ias isn’t a problem endemic to any one political movement: It’s a problem endemic to having a human brain.”
Jurors are not dumb. They’re human.