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Abstract

The current study examined the impact of adversarial expert testimony on deliberations and verdicts in a mock trial involving recovered memories of child sexual abuse. Participants (N = 238) were randomly assigned to one of the six conditions in a 2 (Defense Expert: absent or present) × 3 (Plaintiff Expert: absent, general or specific/therapist) factorial design. After reading the mock trial transcript, participants completed a questionnaire and deliberated to reach a jury verdict. The defense expert's statements effectively reduced the number of pro-plaintiff verdicts and the plaintiff's credibility. These effects were not mitigated by the plaintiff experts, suggesting that the plaintiff experts may only confirm jurors' prior pro-repression beliefs. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.