Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

Effects of inconsistent eyewitness statements on mock-jurors' evaluations of the eyewitness, perceptions of defendant culpability and verdicts

  • Garrett L. BermanEmail author
  • Douglas J. Narby
  • Brian L. Cutler


In attempting to discredit an eyewitness, it is a common strategy for an attorney to highlight inconsistencies in the eyewitness's recall testimony during cross-examination and encourage the jurors to infer, based on those inconsistencies, that the eyewitness's memory is faulty. An experiment was conducted to examine the effectiveness of this cross-examination strategy. Subjects viewed a simulated cross-examination and rendered judgmenets about the eyewitness and defendant. The type of inconsistent testimony was manipulated between subjects. Subjects exposed to inconsistent recall testimony about either central or peripheral details perceived the eyewitness as less credible (as evidenced by ratings on multiple dimensions) and the defendant as less culpable. Inconsistency on central details led to fewer convictions. Results point to the effectiveness of this cross-examination strategh.


Social Psychology Multiple Dimension Common Strategy Central Detail Peripheral Detail 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garrett L. Berman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Douglas J. Narby
    • 2
  • Brian L. Cutler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityNorth Miami
  2. 2.Louisiana State University at EuniceEuniceUSA

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