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Title

The Impact of Map Quality and Expert Testimony on Juror Decisions

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

An eyewitness to a crime is sometimes asked to create a cognitive map of the crime scene in terms of placement of buildings, people, and other objects (e.g., exits). Because of the influence these maps may have on juror decision making and the lack of research on this type of evidence, the current study further examines the relationship between eyewitness credibility and sketch maps. Participants in Study 1 were asked to view a video of a simulated burglary after which they received one of four possible instructions. Results indicated that instructions impacted the quality of the map, but that map quality itself was not related to identification accuracy of the eyewitness. Study 2 explored the role of expert testimony on map quality and its effect on mock jurors’ ratings of eyewitness credibility. In conditions with high quality maps, the eyewitness was found more credible and there were more guilty verdicts. Frequency of guilty verdicts also increased in expert-present conditions. Throughout all expert testimony conditions (present and absent), the quality of map was highly influential in both verdict choice and perceived credibility of the eyewitness testimony.

Start Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

End Date

25-4-2015 1:15 PM

Faculty Advisor

Otto MacLin

Comments

Location: Great Reading Room, Seerley Hall

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Apr 25th, 12:00 PM Apr 25th, 1:15 PM

The Impact of Map Quality and Expert Testimony on Juror Decisions

An eyewitness to a crime is sometimes asked to create a cognitive map of the crime scene in terms of placement of buildings, people, and other objects (e.g., exits). Because of the influence these maps may have on juror decision making and the lack of research on this type of evidence, the current study further examines the relationship between eyewitness credibility and sketch maps. Participants in Study 1 were asked to view a video of a simulated burglary after which they received one of four possible instructions. Results indicated that instructions impacted the quality of the map, but that map quality itself was not related to identification accuracy of the eyewitness. Study 2 explored the role of expert testimony on map quality and its effect on mock jurors’ ratings of eyewitness credibility. In conditions with high quality maps, the eyewitness was found more credible and there were more guilty verdicts. Frequency of guilty verdicts also increased in expert-present conditions. Throughout all expert testimony conditions (present and absent), the quality of map was highly influential in both verdict choice and perceived credibility of the eyewitness testimony.