Witnesses appearing live versus on video: effects on observers' perception, veracity assessments and memory



The study is an experiment examining how different presentation modes (live vs. video) affect observers' perception, veracity assessments and memory of witnesses and their statements. Three weeks after seeing a staged accident, six truth telling and six lying witnesses testified about the event. Mock jurors (N = 122) viewed the witnesses' testimony either live or on video and rated their perception of the witnesses' statement and appearance as well as the credibility of the witnesses. Live observers rated the witnesses' appearance in a more positive way and perceived them as being more honest than did video observers. Truth tellers were rated as having to think less hard than liars. Moreover, observers were not better than chance in assessing veracity, regardless of presentation mode. Live observers incorrectly believed they had a better memory of the witnesses' statements than video observers. Observers who had watched truthful statements showed a significantly better memory performance than observers who had watched deceptive statements. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.