Recent psychological research has focused on assessing the characteristics of open minded jurors. This research has revealed open minded jurors are:
– willing to consider contradictory evidence;
– tolerant of ambiguity;
– willing to consider alternative opinions and explanations; and
– have a sense of self that is not dependent on their beliefs.
Various measures of cognitive styles and intellectual development have been derived in an attempt to develop the concept of juror open mindedness. The assessment of open mindedness has obvious implications for jury selection, in that the goal of jury selection is identification of jurors who will be impartial, listen to the evidence without prejudging it based on bias or prejudice, and wait until receiving all of the evidence to form an opinion as to which side should prevail. A series of voir dire questions designed to ascertain venire members’ open mindedness should be posed to all potential jurors in every voir dire examination.
Contact Magnus for journal citations of articles measuring open mindedness in jurors.