Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Diversity matters – but the reason
may surprise you

Racially mixed groups perform better in making decisions on difficult or controversial issues.

In a study at Tufts University, jury panels of whites and blacks performed better than all-white groups in many ways. "Such diverse juries deliberated longer, raised more facts about the case, and conducted broader and more wide-ranging deliberations," said Professor Samuel Sommers. "They also made fewer factual errors in discussing evidence and when errors did occur, those errors were more likely to be corrected during the discussion."

Why? The behavior of the whites changed significantly.

Whites on diverse juries cited more case facts, made fewer mistakes in recalling facts and evidence, and pointed out missing evidence more frequently than did those on all-white juries. They were also more amenable to discussing racism when in diverse groups.

The implications go far beyond the courthouse. "Because the study examines group decision-making in a realistic setting, the findings have potential implications for a variety of contexts--from the classroom to the boardroom, or wherever a premium is placed on fact-finding and reaching a good decision," Sommers said. "Diverse groups show a number of advantages and benefits when it comes to this type of decision making."

Read the entire study here.

Thanks to Feminist Law Professors for the link.


At 5:38 PM, Blogger LawyerBob said...

From experience, I can tell you that diversity does make a difference on juries. That's why prosecutors don't like diversity on juries. JMHO

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

I delete only spam comments.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can certainly support the findings of this study. I was on a diverse jury recently. I'm Caucasian and the defendant was African American. Our jury was able to consider the charges in a more in-depth manner than I think we would have otherwise. I know for sure that I was exposed to a whole different way of looking at the crime than I would have otherwise. We found the defendant guilty unanomously, but of a lesser crime than she was charged for initially. This was after a great deal of very good discussion.

At 3:38 AM, Blogger Passion said...

Good analysis. Vindicates "Wisdom of crowds"

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