Award/Availability

Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Kim MacLin

Keywords

Eyewitness identification; Evidence, Expert; Jury;

Abstract

The criminal justice system generally assumes that jurors have a base knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding memory evidence. On some occasions, however, experts are brought in to testify and explain these issues to jurors. Though jurors (along with judges and attorneys) like to believe they are knowledgeable about the variables that may affect eyewitness memory, the reality is that they have a very limited understanding. However, there is little research on what misperceptions exist among laypeople regarding eyewitness memory. This is problematic because expert testimony may be more useful if it specifically addresses common misperceptions rather than just providing jurors with textbook information. This study investigates the influence specific expert testimony has on mock jurors. It uses weapon focus and expert testimony (either standard or specific) to examine the effects on verdict and other variables such as confidence and perceptions of both the witness and expert witness in a fictitious trial. Though no significant differences in verdict were found between the conditions, other significant results shine a light on the challenges expert witnesses face. Limitations and implications of this research are discussed, along with the significance of this type of research.

Date of Award

2015

Department

Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original

2015

Object Description

1 PDF file (37 pages)

Language

EN

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