This research was supported in part from grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. We thank Jack Alflen, Alan Ball, Jimmy Chen, Jacque Claar, Jerrilyn Cowart, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Karsten Moen, Antoinette Schryver, and Melody Short, for their assistance in running subjects, data analyses, and manuscript preparation. We also thank Robert Josephs, Michael R. Leippe, and an anonymous reviewer for comments on an earlier version of the paper.
Degree of Detail of Eyewitness Testimony and Mock Juror Judgments1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 18, Issue 14, pages 1171–1192, November 1988
How to Cite
Bell, B. E. and Loftus, E. F. (1988), Degree of Detail of Eyewitness Testimony and Mock Juror Judgments. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18: 1171–1192. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb01200.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
The influence of the degree of detail of eyewitness testimony on two sides of a court case was investigated in two experiments. In the first experiment subject-jurors read a civil court case involving an automobile-pedestrian accident. The plaintiff and the defendant presented conflicting eyewitness accounts. Judgments of the relative credibility of the eyewitnesses on each side and the percentage of negligence of the parties were influenced by the relative degree of detail of the eyewitness testimony on each side. In the second experiment subject-jurors read a criminal court case involving robbery and murder. The prosecution and defense presented conflicting eyewitness accounts. The degree of detail of the prosecution eyewitness testimony influenced judgments of guilt and judgments of the credibility of the eyewitnesses. An examination of the reasons for verdicts and credibility judgments revealed that some subjects inferred that an eyewitness who gave testimony with a greater degree of detail had a better memory for the trivial details and the culprit than an eyewitness who gave testimony with a lesser degree of detail. Implications of these results for the legal system are discussed.