Jurors’ cognitive depletion and performance during jury deliberation as a function of jury diversity and defendant race.

Racial diversity in juries, meant to ensure representation of minority voices, can also reduce racial bias in verdicts and improve group performance during deliberation (Sommers, 2006). Although jury diversity might increase cognitive depletion because it involves interracial interactions (Richeson & Shelton, 2003), it might also reduce racial disparity in verdicts and deliberation quality by improving the quality of deliberation for Black defendants. In 6-person juries that included 2 White or 2 Black confederates, White jurors viewed trial evidence including a defendant race manipulation (White, Black) and completed measures of cognitive depletion and case facts recall. Deliberation transcripts were coded for the number of total, correct, and new case facts mentioned by jurors. As predicted, jurors in diverse versus all-White juries were more depleted after deliberation, but depletion was not related to deliberation performance. For the Black defendant, jurors on diverse (vs. homogeneous) juries discussed more case facts; for the White defendant, the effect was not significant. Jurors on all-White juries discussed more case facts when they judged a White (vs. Black) defendant, but this difference was not significant for jurors on diverse juries. Thus, jury diversity reduced racial disparity in the quality of deliberation. Before and after deliberation, jurors were less likely to convict the Black (vs. White) defendant regardless of jury composition. These findings reinforce the importance of constructing racially diverse juries, given that they may be better equipped to evaluate trial evidence for both Black and White defendants despite the cognitive demand of deliberating within a diverse group. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)