Looking shifty but telling the truth: the effect of witness demeanour on mock jurors’ perceptions

McKimmie, B.M, Masser, B.M and Bongiorno, R (2014) 'Looking shifty but telling the truth: the effect of witness demeanour on mock jurors’ perceptions.' Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 21 (2). pp. 297-310. ISSN 1321-8719

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2013.815600

Abstract

Two studies investigated the impact of witness demeanour on the extent to which mock jurors were influenced by the strength of the witness’ testimony. The first study (N = 87) manipulated the strength of a witness’ testimony (strong versus weak) and the witness’ non-verbal behaviour (stereotypically deceptive versus non-deceptive). As expected, the strength of the testimony only influenced mock jurors’ perceptions when the witness displayed stereotypically non-deceptive non-verbal behaviour. A second study (N = 101) tested whether this effect was due to reliance on stereotypical but accurate cues to deception or stereotypical but inaccurate cues to deception. Participants were presented with the strong testimony from the first study in either an audio-visual format or audio-only format. Participants were only influenced by the stereotypically deceptive or non-deceptive non-verbal behaviours of the witness when such cues were accessible via audio-visual information. In the audio-only condition, where only the accurate stereotypical cues were accessible, there was no difference in evaluations as a function of witness behaviour. Results suggest that instructing jurors to rely on the demeanour of a witness when evaluating the credibility of that witness may be counter-productive.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: psychology and law, stereotypes, witness demeanour
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2013.815600
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2022 19:27
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 19:27
URI / Page ID: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14595
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