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Can experts help jurors to evaluate eyewitness evidence? A review of eyewitness expert effects


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Kristy A. Martire, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia (e-mail:


Courts occasionally permit psychologists to present expert evidence in an attempt to help jurors evaluate eyewitness identification evidence. This paper reviews research assessing the impact of this expert evidence, which we argue should aim to increase jurors' ability to discriminate accurate from inaccurate identifications. With this in mind we identify three different research designs, two indirectly measuring the expert's impact on juror discrimination accuracy and one which directly assesses its effect on this measure. Across a total of 24 experiments, three have used the superior direct methodology, only one of which provides evidence that expert testimony can improve jurors' ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate eyewitness identifications.