Effects of expert psychological advice on human performance in judging the validity of eyewitness testimony

Author: Wells, G.L.; Lindsay, R.C.L.; Tousignant, J.P.

Description: Reviews research regarding how well human observers can judge the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. It is proposed that people (a) are overwilling to believe in the accuracy of eyewitnesses’ memory, (b) rely too heavily on the confidence of eyewitnesses in judging the validity of testimony, (c) fail to adequately account for witnessing conditions across crimes, and (d) cannot discriminate between accurate and inaccurate witnesses within crimes. Data are reported of 192 eligible jurors participating in an experiment designed to test the effects that expert psychological advice has on jurors’ performance with regard to these 4 deficiencies. Results show that expert advice served to eliminate the overbelief bias and greatly reduced Ss’ reliance on the confidence of the witnesses. Expert advice did not improve the extent to which Ss took account of the witnessing conditions across crimes nor their ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate witnesses within crimes. (11 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Subject Headings: Human performance; Eyewitness testimony; Validity

Subject headings:

Publication year: 1980

Journal or book title: Law and Human Behavior

Volume: 4

Issue: 4

Pages: 275-285

Find the full text : https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/lhb/4/4/275/

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2317