Reaching a Verdict – How Psychology Can Inform Behaviour in the Courtroom
Persuading a Jury
Expert witnesses are widely used in criminal trials to add scientific confidence to proof. From the research by Loftus et al we know that eye witness testimony is extremely unreliable. Psychologists such as Loftus are often called as expert witnesses for the defence to warn jurors of the possible problems with eye witness testimony. However, research has shown that jurors tend to disregard these warning and still believe eye witness accounts.
Key Study: Cutler et al., The Effect of the Expert Witness On Jury Perception of Eyewitness Testimony
To investigate whether hearing about psychological research from an expert witness which casts doubt upon the accuracy of eyewitness testimony would affect a juror’s decision by making them more sceptical.
Laboratory experiment using videotaped mock trial