The Effects of Evidence Type and Expert Credential Contestation on Mock Juror Decision-making
There has been much debate about how the specific aspects of a testimony affect a juror’s decision. This study examined the effect that evidence type and the contestation of witness credentials had on juror decision-making processes. Two groups were exposed to a court transcript with a witness presenting a more medically-based perspective (natural science) for evidence while the other groups read the witness presenting a more psychologically-based evidence perspective (social science). Likewise, two groups received a transcript where the defense attacked the prosecution’s expert’s credentials (such as experience in the field and certifications) while the other two groups received a transcript without any cross-examination of the witness. It was hypothesized that in the natural science condition there would be no significant difference between the contested and uncontested conditions in the guilt and innocence sentence length of the believability of the witness. Conversely, it was hypothesized that in the social science condition, there would be significant difference between the contested and uncontested conditions of guilt, sentencing, and believability of the witness. The study is currently in progress and once all the data has been gathered it will be analyzed with SPSS to determine the main effects and interactions in relation to the hypotheses.