Reaching a Verdict


Persuadaing a Jury

  • Pennington & Hastie- Effects of Order of Testimony 
  • Cutler- Persuasion
  • Ross- Effects of shields and videotape of children giving evidence 
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Pennington & Hastie

Aim: See if laywers should present evidence in story order or should they present best witness first and last 

Procedure: Lab experiment; Mock trial; 130 paid students; Listened to tape recording of murder in cubicles; 4 conditons: Story order and witness order for prosecution; And story order and witness order for defense; Participants rate confidence of their verdict 

Findings/Conclusion: Most sucessful for prosecution was story mode and witness order for defense; Reveresed order = defence had benefit due to guilty rate dropping; More confidence in evidence presented in story order

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Aim: See how persuasive an expert witness could be 

Procedure: Lab; Video mock trial of robbery; 538 students that recieved extra credit; Questionaire completed that included memory test, rating scales and confidence of verdict; 4 IV's:

  • Theif was disguised with hand gun
  • Confidence of witness
  • Expert witness decribed evidence in a descriptive or quantitative way
  • Expert witness confidence rating on witness statement 

Findings: Witness identification good then more guilty verdicts were gievn this effect increased if expert had given descriptive testimony; Jurors had more confidence in their verdict

Conclusion: Expert witness can improve jurors knowledge of psychological variables that may effect an eyewitness and made themn pay more attention to WIC

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Aim: Impact of protective shields and videotape testimony on conviction rates

Procedure: Mock trial; 300 college students; Case of fatehr innappropriatley touching his daugter whilst bathing her:

  • Experiment 1: Judge advised jurors that shield/video link did not imply guilt; Participants gave verdict and rated child on aspects of her story and defendant on credibility
  • Experiment 2: Only change was tape was stopped immedicatley after child gave her evidence


  • Experiment 1: No significant difference between the number of guilty verdicts and between conditions; More females found defendent guilty and child more credible; Overall credibility did not change
  • Experiment 2: Jurors more likely to convict 

Conclusion: Defendant is not more at risk if protective devices are used as long as case is allowed to run its full couse. 

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