Witness Appeal.

Reaching a verdict, witness appeal studies for OCR psychology, forensic psychology. 

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Physical Attractiveness; Castellow et al.

Halo effect - where a positve halo of pleasant characteristics is imagained when one favourable characteristics is known about the individual. (stereotype of what is beautiful is goof, beautiful peopple must have attractive personalities). 

Aim/Hypotheses; 1) an attractive defendent is LESS likely to be seen as guilty 2) If the victim is attractive the defendent is MORE likely to be guilty 3) Gender differences in jury verdicts on attractivenss. 

Method; lab exp. mock trial. 145 uni students. Procedure; Read through harrasssment case with photos of defendent/victim also attached. Asked if guilty 10-point scale of attractiveness. 11 bipolar scales (dull - exciting). 

Results; 1) UN.A - 76% more likely to be found guilty. A 56% less likely to be fond guilty. 2) - UN.A - 55% less likely to be found guilty. A 77% more likely to be found guilty. 3) - none both scenes were equally influenced by appearance. 

Conclusion; Appearance does have a powerful effecton a jury, because of this many barristers advise to have good hair cuts and dress well and to look good and make most of what they have to get the jury on their side. 

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Physical Attractiveness; Castellow et al.


Issues with generalisability. Sample size is small - also as it was only university students any results found can only be represensative of the students and only in the USA. Therefore the results can just be generalised to students from within the USA

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Witness Confidence; Penrod & Cutler.

Confidence in what i sbeing said thought more confident someone is it will have a large impact on whether defendent is found guilty/not guilty. 

Aim; Examine several factors including confidence that jurors might consider when evaluating eyewitness identification evidence. 

Method & Procedure; lab exp. mock trial. Independent measures design. (p's - undergraduated students who were eligible and experienced jurors.) saw a video tape of a robbery. witnessed identified - 80% confidence / 100% confidence. that they had identified the robber correctly. The participants experienced high/low level variables then asked to reach a verdict. 

Results; statistically significant effect. 80% confident - 60% likely to be found guilty. 100% confident - 67% likely to be found guilty. 

Conclusions; The evidence shows that confidence is a poor prediction of witness accuracy shows jurors trust is undiminshed even if the judge advises jury to be wary of it in their summing up. 

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Witness Confidence; Penrod & Cutler.


Ecological validity - as it was done in a lab then the environment is not natural and does not relate to everyday life as it is a controlled environment where all the variables are closely controlled. 

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Form of Testimony; Ross et al.

Credibility INFLATION - childs testimony is enhanced because of them being protected from negative effects of trauma. Credibility DEFLATION - child witness is seen as unreliable because of the use of a shield. 

Aim; 1) if use of protective shields and videotape testimony increases the likelihood of a guilty verdict 2) investigate effect of protective devices on jury reaction to testimony do they experience credibility inflation or credibility deflation. 

Method; mock trial based on a real court case. ACTORS USED. X3 conditions. 1 - open court 2 - child behind 4x6ft screen 3 - childs testimony via videolink. (p's 100 to each condition). 

Procedure; Ech group watched 2 hour film of case of alleged abuse of childs father accused of single touch whilst bathing. Judge told not to imply guilt by form of testimony drawing attention to the aim. 

Results; 1 - 51% guilty, 49% not guilty, 2 - 46% guilty 54% not guilty, 3 - 49% guilty 51% not guilty. Conclusion; Results suggest victim is not more at risk at the defendent being found not guilty if protective devices are used, shows best thing to do is a video link. 

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Form of Testimony; Ross et al.


There may be a problem with the validity of this study as actors were used in the videotape. This means they would have been told how to react as it was based on a real trial, however it would not 'get across' any real 'trauma' that may have been present in the real trial. This will relate to the ecological validity of the study too, lowering this and therefore lowering the overall validity too. 

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