Considering forensic science: individual differences, opposing expert testimony and juror decision making

Two experimental studies examined the effect of opposing expert testimony on perceptions of the reliability of unvalidated forensic evidence (anthropometric facial comparison). In the first study argument skill and epistemological sophistication were included as measures of individual differences, w...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Psychology, crime & law
Main Author: Scobie, Charlotte (Author)
Contributors: Proeve, M. (Author); Semmler, C.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:Psychology, crime & law
Year: 2019, Volume: 25, Issue: 1, Pages: 23-49
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Two experimental studies examined the effect of opposing expert testimony on perceptions of the reliability of unvalidated forensic evidence (anthropometric facial comparison). In the first study argument skill and epistemological sophistication were included as measures of individual differences, whereas study two included scores on the Forensic Evidence Evaluation Bias Scale. In both studies participants were assigned to groups who heard: (1) no expert testimony, (2) prosecution expert testimony, or (3) prosecution and opposing expert testimony. Opposing expert testimony affected verdict choice, but this effect was mediated by perceptions of reliability of the initial forensic expert's method. There was no evidence for an effect on verdict or reliability ratings by argument skill or epistemology. In the second experiment, the same mediation effect was found, however scores on one subscale from the FEEBS and age also affected both verdict and methodological reliability. It was concluded that opposing expert testimony may inform jurors, but perceptions of the reliability of forensic evidence affect verdict, and age and bias towards forensic science influence perceptions of forensic evidence. Future research should investigate individual differences that may affect perception or bias towards forensic sciences under varying conditions of scientific reliability.
ISSN:1477-2744
DOI:10.1080/1068316X.2018.1488976