Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Jury Decision Making and Eyewitness Testimony

  • Amanda S. Nicholson
  • Angela M. Yarbrough
  • Steven D. Penrod
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_670


Jurors are assigned the arduous task of examining and processing copious amounts of evidence – in light of their legal instructions – to determine an appropriate verdict. While jurors do a relatively good job at sorting through the evidence and the law, the complex nature of evidence may lie outside jurors’ “common knowledge,” and additional education may aid jurors as they process such information. This is especially true in the domain of eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony is extremely influential despite its potential to be unreliable. Eyewitnesses may appear very confident in their identification of the perpetrator, yet be completely mistaken. Indeed, over 75 % of wrongful convictions overturned due to DNA testing have been linked to faulty eyewitness identifications. Unfortunately, traditional safeguards, such as cross-examination of eyewitnesses, result in little improvement in jurors’ ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate eyewitness...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda S. Nicholson
    • 1
  • Angela M. Yarbrough
    • 1
  • Steven D. Penrod
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA