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NCJ Number: 99132 Find in a Library
Title: Testifying on Eyewitness Reliability - Expert Advice Is Not Always Persuasive
Journal: Journal of Applied Social Psychology  Volume:15  Issue:3  Dated:(1985)  Pages:207-229
Author(s): A Maass; J C Brigham; S G West
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: BNS 77-27476
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An experimental study used two hypothetical court cases to assess the effect on jurors of different types of expert testimony regarding the unreliability of eyewitness identification.
Abstract: The subjects were 360 college students, who were randomly assigned to one of 12 conditions, each involving 5 groups containing 6 subjects. The subjects were presented with a burglary case or a convenience store robbery case. Some subjects read only the case description; others read the case description and learned of the existence of a positive eyewitness identification. In the cases involving eyewitnesses, expert testimony was presented in one of two forms: testimony on the results of a research program about eyewitness identification and testimony about the particular eyewitness under consideration. The subjects who had been confronted with an expert statement made more lenient judgments about the offender but did not discount the eyewitness identification completely. The expert testimony that focused on research results had a moderate impact on the subjects' judgments. In contrast, the expert testimony about the specific eyewitness was the most influential type of expert advice when a causal explanation was provided, but the least influential one when no reasons were given. Although findings generally confirmed previous studies, some exceptions were found. Thirty-three references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses; Eyewitness testimony; Jury decisionmaking; Technical experts
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