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Do Memory-focused Jury Instructions Moderate the Influence of Eyewitness Word Choice?

Description: Some ways of describing an eyewitness event are likely to be more effective than others. We investigated how one such factor - linguistic concreteness - influenced juror decision making. Jurors who received testimony with more concrete language (e.g., he was twitching nervously versus a nervous, twitchy guy) were more likely to vote guilty and rate the eyewitness as credible (Study 1). This effect was mitigated when jurors received additional information prior to rendering a verdict; specifically, memory-focused jury instructions made jurors less likely to vote guilty or find the eyewitness credible (Study 2). Overall, these results suggest concrete language is more persuasive to jurors but can be overcome by the presentation of additional information, particularly that which increases skepticism of eyewitness evidence.

Suggested Citation:
Kurinec, C.A., Weaver III, C.A. (2018). Do Memory-focused Jury Instructions Moderate the Influence of Eyewitness Word Choice? [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 14(1), 15.

Keywords: eyewitness, testimony, linguistic concreteness, juror decision making, jury instructions

Date: Jul 26, 2018 | File Size: 324.05 Kb | Downloads: 68

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