Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Discipline

Juvenile Justice


Few studies have explored the effects of emotional or rational stimulations concerning juror verdicts. There has yet to be a study to examine the impact of cognitive or experiential processing on teen juror decision-making in teen courts. The survey of teen court participants after the completion of teen court jury trials was used to gauge whether rational processing or experiential processing was triggered in selecting a verdict. Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory (CEST) and juvenile decision-making theories and perspectives (The Focal Concerns Theory of Sentencing, Attribution Theory, and Formal Legal Perspective) were used to explain teen jurors’ decision-making. A sample of 107 grade, middle, and high school youth, 10 to 18 years-of-age (delinquent youth and youth volunteers), and adult teen court volunteers who are primarily judges, and attorneys was analyzed in this study.

To test whether teen court youth possess more experiential than rational processing traits, and to determine whether experiential and cognitive processing traits were more influential in the verdict/sentencing variable, analyses of variance and correlations were run. One-way ANOVA was used to measure whether the categorical variables had a measurable effect on the CEST REI variables.

This study found teen jurors were capable of making cognitive-based decisions, though there were some experiential influences on decision-making. Overall older youth seemed to be more willing to prefer complex problem-solving to prevent boredom and redundancy of the proceedings. Further comparison is required to determine whether the study’s statistical significance was derived from higher cognitive processing traits in some participants compared to other participants.

Keywords: teen court, diversion, youth jurors, decision-making, juvenile justice

Committee Chair/Advisor

Sesha Kethineni

Committee Co-Chair:

Kimberly Chism

Committee Member

Robin Jackson

Committee Member

Logan Yelderman


Prairie View A&M University


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.