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Can Experts Help Jurors to Evaluate Eyewitness Evidence?: A Review of Eyewitness Expert Effects

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 24-36
Date Published
February 2011
13 pages

This paper discusses research that examined the effect of expert testimony on jurors' ability to evaluate the validity of evidence.


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 the authors 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, 3 have used the superior direct methodology, only 1 of which provides evidence that expert testimony can improve jurors' ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate eyewitness identifications. Figure, table, and references (Published Abstract)

Date Published: February 1, 2011