Witness Appeal

Attractiveness of the defendant (eg Castellow 1990)

Witness confidence (e.g Penrod & cutler 1987)

Effects of shields and videotape on children giving evidence (Ross et al 1994)

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Faye
  • Created on: 17-04-10 21:26

Castellow et al (1990) The effects of physical att

Attractiveness of the defendant
Acording to Dion et el physically attractive people are assumed to have other attractive properties. This is known as the Halo effect. Efran (1974) found good looking criminals recieved lighter sentences or penalties unless their looks were involved in the crime e.g toyboy conning rich old ladies. This is why a defendant is advised to turn up smartly dressed, clean and tidy for thier day in court, apperacnes do matter

Aim: To test the hypothesis that an attractive defendant is less likely to be seen as guilty, that the more attractive the victim is the more likley the defendant is to be seen as guilty and lastly to look for gender diffrences in these effects.

Procedure- 71 male and 74 female students from east carolina university particioated in the study, It was a laboratory study with independant measures design (attractive or unattractive). All participants were asked to read a sexual harrasment case,attached were pictures of the defendant and victim, these were eithe attractive or unattractive (Attractive defendant, unattractive victim and vice versa). The dependant variable was their answer to the question "Do you think Mr Radfor is guilty of sexual harrasmen?" They were also asked to rate both defendants and victim on 11 bipolar personality scales such as dull- exciting, nervous-calm etc.

1 of 6

Castellow et al (1990) The effects of physical att

Results- Attractive defendants were found guilty 56% of the time, unattractive defendants 76% of the time.
When the victim was attractive the guilty verdict was 77%
Attractive defendants and victims were also rated postively on peronality variables.
There was no significant gender diffrence.

Conclusion- Looks do matter!

Witness confidence
Giving evidence in court is a nerve racking experience and it would be completley understandable for witnesses to appear nervous and hesitate when answering questions. However, jurors may perceive this nervousness as evidence of being unsure or even worse lying. When a witness appears confident, jury tend to have more confidence in what they hear

2 of 6

Penrod and Cutler (1995)- The effects of witness c

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

Procedure: This study involves showing a videotaped mock trial of a robbery to participants, who included undergraduate students and experienced jurors. There were 10 independent variables which were manipulated, but we will focus on just one- witness confidence. Eyewitness identification was key to the trial; the witness testified that she was either 80 or 100 % confident that she had identified the robber.

Lab study-Test retest- Controlled variables, Not high in ecological validity.

Results:
witness confidence about ID conviction %
100 % confident 67 %
80 % confident 60 %

The more confident the witness was, the more likley the jury were to believe them.

3 of 6

Effect of shields and videotape on children giving

Aim: To test the hypothesis that an attractive defendant is less likely to be seen as guilty, that the more attractive the victim is the more likely the defendant is to be seen as guilty and lastly to look for gender differences in these effects.

Procedure- 71 male and 74 female students from east Carolina university participated in the study, It was a laboratory study with independent measures design (attractive or unattractive). All participants were asked to read a sexual harassment case,attached were pictures of the defendant and victim, these were either attractive or unattractive (Attractive defendant, unattractive victim and vice versa). The dependant variable was their answer to the question "Do you think Mr Radfor is guilty of sexual harassment?" They were also asked to rate both defendants and victim on 11 bipolar personality scales such as dull- exciting, nervous-calm etc.

Results- Attractive defendants were found guilty 56% of the time, unattractive defendants 76% of the time.
When the victim was attractive the guilty verdict was 77%
Attractive defendants and victims were also rated positively on personality variables.
There was no significant gender difference.

4 of 6

Ross et al (1994) the impact of protective shield

Aims: To find out if the use of protective shields and videotaped testimony increases the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
To investigate the effects of protective devices on jury reaction to testimony- do the experience credibility inflation (more likely to believe or deflation (less likely to believe)

Procedure- A mock trial based on actual court transcript was set up. Three versions were filmed by a film crew, with actors playing the roles. In the first version the child actor gave evidence in open court, in the second from behind a screen and in the third via a video link. 300 psychology students (equally split in gender) were recruited, 100 were assigned to each condition. All of the participants watched their version of a two- hour film of the case of the alleged child abuse. The film included the child's father as the accused (alleged abuse was a single touch in the bath, the case focused on weather it was innocent or sexual) the mother, two expert witnesses( one for each side) and the child herself. The judge in the case read a warning before the use of the screen or video tape directing the jury not to imply guilty by their use. The participants were asked for their verdicts and asked about the credibility of the defendant and the child witness.

5 of 6

Ross et al (1994) the impact of protective shield

Results Open court shield video
Guilty % 51 46 49
Not Guilty % 49 54 51

There was no significant diffrence between the three conditions. however 58.6% of females found the defendant guilty, compared to just 38.6% of males.

The same pattern emerged for credibility; there was no diffrence across the three conditions. However, once again there was a gender differnece, females rated the defendant as less credible and the child as more credible

Conclusion- This study suggested that when judge's warnings are given there is no disadvantage to the defendant in the use of shields and videotape. However, in a 2nd study carried out by Ross et al when the tape was stopped immediately after the child testified, a guilty verdict was more likely in the open court condition- but this was an artificial situation, real cases run their full course.

6 of 6

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »