Reaching a verdict: Witness appeal

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Castellow et al: The effect of 'physical attractiv

Halo effect: If you know one attractive trait about an individual, you assume that all other traits of an attractive person are attractive 

Horns effect: If you know one unattractive trait about an individual, you assume that all of their own traits are unattractive 

Aim: To test the hypothesis that an attractive person is less likely to be seen as guilty and to see if any gender difference in the jury

Participants: 145 uni students (71 males and 74 females Method: lab experiment 

Procedure: P's read a sexual harrasment case and were given photos of the victim and the defendant which had already been rated in terms of attractiveness. The DV was the question "Do you think Mr Radford is guilty?". P's are then asked to rate the defendant + victim on 11 bipolar scales 

Results: -Physcially attractive defendants and victims were rated more positivel on scales - When defendant was attractive less gulity verdicts - When victim attractive more guilty verdicts - No significant difference in gender differences 

Conclusions: Appearance has a powerful effect in the court room - it has a big influence on how you are percieved by the jury  

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Penrod and Cutler: The effect of witness confidenc

Aim: To examine different factors, including confidence, that jurors might consider when evaluating eyewitness identification 

Method: an experiment using a mock trial scenario  Participants: undergrate students as well as eligible jurors and experienced jurors 

Procedure: A videotaped trial of a robbery was presented in which eyewitness identification played a key role. The witness in the video testified that she was either 80% or 100% confident that she had identified the robber correctly. Nine further varibales were also introduced throughout the film such as weapon focus 

DV: After wacthing the film, participants were asked to decide whether they throught the robber was guilty or not 

Results: - Witness confidence is the only statistically significant effect of all the 10 variables - In further studies Cutler looked into the relationship between accuracy and confidence but found no correlation 

Conclusion: The evience across the studies shows that confidence is a poor indicator of witness confience yet the jury still put a lot of trust in how confident they appear 

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Ross et al: Impact of protective shields and video

Aim: To find out id the use of protective shield or videotaped testimony icnrease the likelihood of a guilty verdict and to investiage the effect of protective devices on jury reaction to testimony (credibility inflation and deflation) 

Method: Mock trial using a professional film crew Participants: 300 students (150 males and females) split into three conditions 

Procedure: Participants watched the trial. The case was of alleged child abuse. Before the screen or the video was used the judge directed the jury not to imply guilt. The participants were required to give their verdicts, rate the credibility of the chid witness and the credibility of the defendant. 

Results: No sigificant difference was found between conditions - The jurys perception of credibility did not differ bu there was a gender difference - Females rated defendant less credibile and children more credible 

Experiment 2: All variable the same but footage was stopped immediately after the testimony - children were better at the end

Conclusions: The results suggested that the use of protective shields did not put the defendant at a disadvantage bu the child is better placed at the end 

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