Juror sensitivity to eyewitness identification evidence

Abstract

A mock-jury study was conducted to examine juror sensitivity to eyewitness identification evidence. Subjects were 129 eligible and experienced jurors from Dane County, Wisconsin, who viewed a videotaped trial that involved an eyewitness identification. Ten factors associated with the crime and the identification (e.g., disguise of the perpetrator, retention interval, confidence of the witness) were manipulated. The results of this mock-jury study were combined with those of a previous study using the same experimental stimuli and procedures, but using undergraduates as subjects. This analysis showed that the confidence of the eyewitness was the most powerful predictor of verdicts (p<.05) and that differences between undergraduates and eligible jurors in their sensitivity to eyewitness evidence were negligible.

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Correspondence to Brian L. Cutler.

Additional information

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation under grant No. SES-8411721 and the National Institute of Justice under grant No. 84-IJ-CX-0010 to Steven Penrod. Carol Krafka and Peter Shapiro were instrumental in the planning of this research. In addition, we wish to thank Bridgett Bleisner, Michael Bradley, Robert Bull, James Coward, and Thomas Stuve for their assistance with various phases of this research.

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Cutler, B.L., Penrod, S.D. & Dexter, H.R. Juror sensitivity to eyewitness identification evidence. Law Hum Behav 14, 185–191 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01062972

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Powerful Predictor
  • Retention Interval
  • Experimental Stimulus
  • Eyewitness Identification