Master of Arts (MA)
As a result of Daubert, trial judges were advised to only admit an expert once they determine 1) that the testimony is supported with scientific evidence and 2) would assist the trier(s) of fact. The present studies were designed to address the second criterion of admissibility by 1) assessing jurors' knowledge of eyewitness memory, and 2) determining if they can apply this knowledge when assessing mock courtroom testimony. In the first study, subjects evaluated trial transcripts of testimony concerning an eyewitness account where factors that influence eyewitness memory were present in either a negative form or a positive form. In the second study subjects evaluated testimony in transcripts that described factors in a negative, positive, or omitted form. Subjects in both experiments also answered survey questions (adapted from Kassin et al., 2001) to assess their personal beliefs regarding eyewitness memory issues. Results suggest jurors appear to be sensitive to many factors that influence eyewitness memory in both the survey format and the trial transcripts. In particular, performance on the trial transcripts suggests that potential jurors may be more sensitive to a number of eyewitness memory issues than would be implied by the results of prior survey research. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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Alonzo, Jill D., "Jury knowledge of eyewitness memory: can jurors use this knowledge in the courtroom?" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 158.