QUESTION TEXT: Numerous studies suggest that when scientific evidence…
QUESTION TYPE: Evaluate The Argument
CONCLUSION: Legal theorists believe that jurors think scientific evidence is more credible because judges prescreen the evidence.
REASONING: No reasoning is given.
ANALYSIS: A crucial point is that jurors evaluate the credibility of the same evidence differently inside a courtroom. So it is not the case that the credibility is due to the evidence being of better quality than a theory the juror would encounter outside of the courtroom.
The lawyers are implying that because judges evaluate a theory, jurors will take it more seriously. For that to be the true, we’d need to know whether jurors knew judges were vetting the evidence.
Most of the answers are wrong because they don’t tell us anything about what impact judges have. An answer could be correct if it gave a definitive alternate explanation, but none of the other answers are in that format. (e.g. an answer could be correct had it said “Whether the imposing nature of courtrooms makes jurors instinctively believe evidence presented”)
- CORRECT. If jurors aren’t aware that judges vet evidence, then why would the vetting affect jurors’ attitudes towards the evidence?
Remember, the argument is talking about how the same piece of scientific evidence is perceived. Inside a courtroom, it’s taken more seriously.
- Hard to say, since influence could go either way. Jurors might influence people to take science either more or less seriously.
- Knowing how jurors form opinions doesn’t really help us figure out why jurors have different opinions in court than outside it.
(Knowing part of a process doesn’t necessarily let us understand the outcome)
- This doesn’t present a difference between everyday life and trials. (Maybe jurors draw on everyday knowledge in both contexts)
- This doesn’t tell us anything about judges. And it doesn’t give an alternate explanation to judges as a cause for the increased scientific credibility.
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