Forensic Psychology-Reaching a Verdict

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Pennington and Hastie: Aim?
To examine whether story order is better for gaining a conviction and the extent to which order effects juries confidence in their decision.
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Pennington and Hastie: Sample?
130 students from Northwestern University. Allocated into one of four conditions.
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Pennington and Hastie: Procedure?
Participants listened to the stimulus trial, either in story or witness order, of a real case, they had to respond to written questions and reach a guilty or not guilty verdict on a murder charge and their confidence on a scale of 1 to 5.
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Pennington and Hastie: Results?
Story order was significantly more effective than witness order. Percentage of guilty verdicts- 1) 78%, 2) 59%, 3) 31%, 4) 63%
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Loftus: Aim?
To investigate the influence of expert testimony on jurors about eye witness identification.
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Loftus: Sample?
120 students at the University of Washington.
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Loftus: Procedure?
Students were split into 20 groups and given a booklet with instructions, description of the crime and a summary of the trial. Asked to deliberate for 30 minutes then asked for a group verdict. 10 groups read the expert psychological testimony on EWT
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Loftus: Results?
Absence of expert testimony; 7 convicted, 2 acquitted and 1 failed to reach a verdict. Expert testimony- 3 convicted, 4 acquitted and 3 failed to reach a verdict.
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Pickel: Aim?
To look at the role of a judges instructions when they are followed by a legal explanations and the effect of prior convictions.
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Pickel: Sample?
236 psychology students at Bali State University
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Pickel: Procedure?
Participants listened to a tape of a fictional trial that contained key evidence about prior convictions. Judge rules the evidence inadmissible- 1) without explanation 2) given a legal explanation. Participants completed a questionnaire
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Pickel: Results?
Mock jurors who weren't given an explanation could ignore the evidence and found the defendant guilty. Knowledge of prior convictions had little effect.
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Pickel: Conclusions?
Calling more attention to inadmissible evidence makes it more important to the jury.
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Castellow: Aim?
To test the hypothesis that an attractive defendant is less likely to be seen as guilty. To look for gender differences in jury verdicts depending on attractiveness.
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Castellow: Sample?
71 male and 74 female students from East Carolina University.
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Castellow: Procedure?
Participants read a sexual harassment case with photos of the defendant and victim attached. Then asked if the defendant was guilty.
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Castellow: Results?
Attractive defendant-56%. Unattractive defendant-76%. Attractive Victim-77%. Unattractive Victim-55%.
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Castellow: Conclusions?
Research shows that appearance does effect the verdict.
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Penrod & Cutler: Aim?
To examine several factors that jurors might consider when evaluating eye witness testimony.
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Penrod & Cutler: Sample?
Undergraduates and eligible/experienced jurors.
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Penrod & Cutler: Procedure?
Watched a videotape of a trial about a robbery where Eyewitness testimony has an important role. Witness testified that she was 80% or 100% confident that she identified the robber correctly. 9 other variables were introduced.
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Penrod & Cutler: Results?
80%-60%. 100%-67%. Heavy Disguise-63%. Minimal Disguise-63%.
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Penrod & Cutler: Conclusions?
Confidence is a poor predictor of witness accuracy as witnesses may just be nervous.
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Ross et al.: Aim?
To find out if the use of protective shields and videotape testimony increases the likelihood of a guilty verdict.
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Ross et al.: Sample?
300 Psychology students. Told they were taking part in a study on psychology and law.
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Ross et al.: Procedure?
Watched a mock trial; one of three versions: 1) Control 2) Screen 3) Videotape. Then asked to give their verdict and rate the credibility of the witness.
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Ross et al.: Results?
No significant difference between the conditions.
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Ross et al.: Conclusions?
Use of videotape and shields doesn't prejudice the jury against the defendant.
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Hastie et al.: Theory?
Three stages involved in decision making: 1) Orientation period- relaxed open discussion. 2) Open Confrontation- fierce debate. 3) Reconciliation- final decision is made.
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Asch: Aim?
To investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority could cause a person to conform.
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Asch: Sample?
50 male participants in the USA.
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Asch: Procedure?
Groups of 7-9 with only 1 real participant the others were confederates, real always sat second to last. Shown pictures of lines and had to match them from three options, confederates told the wrong answer in 12 trials.
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Asch: Results?
32% of confederates conformed and 25% didn't. Participants conformed to avoid group rejection.
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Asch: Conclusion?
Found a strong tendency to conform to group pressure. Findings can be applied to real juries to understand why jurors conform to the majority verdict.
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Moscovici: Aim?
To see whether a consistent minority of participants could influence a majority to give a wrong answer in a colour perception test.
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Moscovici: Sample?
172 female particpants.
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Moscovici: Procedure?
Participants were placed in groups of 6 with 2 confederates. Shown 36 slides all clearly different shade of blue. 1st part- the confederates were consistent and said the slides were all green. 2nd part- said 12 were blue and 36 were green.
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Moscovici: Results?
32% in the consistent condition reported green at least once. In the 2nd condition, the slide was called green in only 1.3% of trials.
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Moscovici: Conclusions?
A minority can influence the majority if they are consistent.
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Pennington and Hastie: Sample?


130 students from Northwestern University. Allocated into one of four conditions.

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Pennington and Hastie: Procedure?


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Pennington and Hastie: Results?


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Loftus: Aim?


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