The influence of eyewitness age, type of descriptor inconsistencies, and familiarity with defendant on mock jurors' perceptions of eyewitness testimony

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  • Eyewitness evidence can play a key role in juror decision making. This study examines the influence of eyewitness age (10 vs. 20 years old), type of descriptor inconsistencies (no descriptor inconsistencies, inconsistencies related to easy-to-change ‘non-permanent’ features or inconsistencies related to difficult-to-change, ‘permanent’ features), and familiarity with the defendant on participants acting as mock jurors’ assessments of eyewitness and defendant integrity, continuous guilt ratings, and dichotomous verdicts. Participants were asked to read one of 12 versions of a trial transcript and then answered a self-report questionnaire. Eyewitness age did not have a significant effect on any dependent variables. Familiarity had a marginal effect on guilt assessments, both continuous and dichotomous. The presence of any descriptor inconsistencies led jurors to believe the eyewitness more, defendant less, and assign more guilt to the defendant. However, the type, i.e. non-permanent or permanent, did not differentially impact assessments.

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  • Copyright © 2014 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2014


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