Eyewitness Factors Influencing the Mock Juror Decision-making Process: Age, Familiarity, and Social Support

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Stein, Eropa




Mock jurors (N = 281) read a trial transcript of an armed robbery at a convenience store. The transcripts varied by eyewitness age (10, vs. 15, vs. 20- years-old), degree of witness-perpetrator interaction (i.e. familiarity), and the degree of social support experienced by the witness during the crime (demonstrated through the presence/absence of a supportive figure such as a mother (i.e. high vs. low social support). The influence of these variables on jurors’ perceptions of eyewitness’ credibility, reliability, and accuracy as well as the decision of defendant’s guilt, were investigated. The presence of social support influenced jurors’ decisions regarding the defendant’s guilt, where jurors in the low social support condition (i.e. alone) compared to the high social support condition (i.e. with mother) were nearly twice as likely to conclude that the defendant was not guilty. No significant group differences were found among the other factors; namely, eyewitness age and familiarity.


Psychology - Experimental




Carleton University

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