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

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Reed, Jennifer




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
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.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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