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  • Created by: Steff06
  • Created on: 01-05-16 19:17
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  • Cutler
    • Aim:
      • To investigate whether hearing about psychological research from an expert witness which casts doubt on accuracy of eyewitness testimony would affect a juror's decision making by making them more sceptical about such testimony.
    • Methodology:
      • Laboratory experiment using a videotaped mock trial.
    • Participants:
      • 538 undergraduates who were given extra credits for their introductory psychology course.
    • Procedure:
      • Participants viewed a videotaped robbery trial in groups of 2 to 8.
      • Independently completed a questionnaire containing the dependent measures, which were the verdict, a memory test and rating scales for how confident they were in their verdict.
      • 1. Witnessing Identifying Conditions (WIC): Whether the conditions were poor i.e. the robber was disguised, brandishing a handgun, there was a 14-day delay in the identification of the robber by the witness + the line-up instructions were suggestive or conditions were good - no disguise, hidden gun, 2-day delay+no suggestive instructions.
      • 2.  Witness confidence: Witness testified she was (a) 80% or (b) 100% confident that she had correctly identified the robber.
        • 3. Form of testimony: Whether the expert psychologist described the results of eyewitness research in a descriptive way or whether it was quantified using percentages of correct or incorrect identifications.
      • 4. Expert opinion - In half the trials the expert expressed his opinion on a scale from 0 (least likely to be correct) to 25 (most likely to be correct). These decisions coincided with the poor or good conditions invariable 1.
    • Results:
      • Juror verdicts - When the WIC were good, more guilty verdicts were given and this effect increased if the expert witness had given descriptive testimony. All other variables were less significant or insignificant.
      • Juror memory - Of the participants, 85% or more correctly recalled the testimony, so memory cannot be blamed for any lack of effect on jurors' judgements.
        • Memory for what the expert had said was good, 50% recalled the 4 stages of memory (perception, encoding, storage+retrieval), 81% recalled at least 1 stage+recalled correctly what the expert had said about weapon effects, disguises, delays in identification.
      • Juror confidence: Under the good WIC that the jurors had more confidence in the accuracy of the identification. This effect was stronger if they had heard the expert witness+if the witness was 100% confident rather than 80%.
      • Shows expert testimony improved jurors' knowledge+made them pay attention to WIC. Decreased reliance on witness confidence alone, no evidence to suggest expert testimony made jurors sceptical about witness' credibility.


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