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NCJ Number: 112729 Find in a Library
Title: Psychologist and the Psychiatrist as Expert Witnesses: Perceived Credibility and Influence
Journal: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1988)  Pages:373-378
Author(s): J Greenberg; A Wursten
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To assess the relative perceptions and influence of psychologist (PhD) and psychiatrist (MD) expert witnesses, 84 psychology students with strong and weak issue involvement in favor or against the insanity defense delivered a verdict on a transcript of a burglary and assault case.
Abstract: In the transcript the PhD testified for the defense and the MD for the prosecution or the MD testified for the defense and the PhD for the prosecution. Subjects rated both experts on 10 items related to witness credibility and gave verdicts of guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI), or guilty. Results indicated a medical bias in that subjects tended to follow the MD's recommendations, endorse attitudes consistent with the MD's testimony, and rate the MD as more credible; but only in the PhD-defense/MD-prosecution condition. Specifically, anti-insanity defense subjects in this condition found the defendant guilty of both charges, consistent with the MD position. In contrast, when the MD testified for the defense, there were approximately equal numbers of NGRI and guilty verdicts. For the burglary charge in the PhD-defense/MD-prosecution condition, low issue-involved subjects most consistently concurred with the position of the MD. A medical bias also was found on the credibility measures, with the MD consistently viewed as more credible in the MD-prosecution condition. In the MD-defense condition, subjects found the witnesses equally trustworthy and credible. 3 tables and 38 references. (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Witness credibility
Index Term(s): Expert witnesses; Insanity defense; Psychiatric testimony; Psychologists role in criminal justice
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