The expert v the eyewitness : the credibility of courtroom testimony

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Authors
Dowling, Marcus
Issue Date
2003
Degree
BA in Psychology
Publisher
Dublin Business School
Rights
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Abstract
An experiment was conducted to test whether confidence in an eyewitness in a mock trial would change with a direct discrediting. There were 60 participants taking part under three separate conditions, making it a between participants design. The three conditions were presented with three different forms of evidence, direct discrediting, indirect discrediting and no discrediting. It was predicted that there would be a distinction between the three conditions, and that as the ratings of guilt went down, so too would the confidence in the eyewitness. Data was analysed first through descriptive statistics, then an ANOV A test and a Pearson Correlation were carried out on the data. HypoFinal Year Project I was supported as there was a definite significant difference found between the mean total rating, given by the participants, for the guilt of the defendant in the direct discrediting condition and the mean total rating, given by the participants, for the guilt of the defendant in both the indirect discrediting condition and the control condition.: H1: (F= 16.724 df= 2 p> 0.05). HypoFinal Year Project 2 was supported as there was a definite significant, positive correlation found between the mean total rating, given by the participants, for the guilt of the defendant, and the mean total rating, given by the participants, for their confidence in the eyewitness : H2: R= .698 p> 0.05). Both predictions were supported by the data. The possibility that mock trial settings are unrealistic was raised. A theoretical issue was raised about expert simply being used oppose the evidence of other experts.
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