Study probes impact of CSI-style programming on jurors

Sep 24, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new psychological study from the University of Leicester aims to investigate how accurate people's perceptions about forensic science are, where these beliefs come from, and how this forensic awareness may impact on jury decision making.

It will assess whether the jury system in the UK is influenced by the type of forensic-related programming potential jurors are exposed to, or whether their knowledge and understanding of forensic science through news media, literature or magazines has an impact on their courtroom decisions.

The study will investigate how jurors interpret forensic evidence in court - and how this impacts on their decision making.

Lisa Smith, from the Forensic Section of the University of Leicester School of Psychology, said: "In recent years the forensic science techniques available to police have become increasingly sophisticated and in some cases difficult to understand within the courtroom.

"The increased attention given to forensic science in both the news and fictional media has also raised awareness of these techniques in the general public. "The aim of this research is to understand how potential jurors perceive and understand various forensic science techniques, in order to determine how their attitudes and expectations may impact on their decision making in a courtroom setting."

Ms Smith added that jurors are faced with the very difficult task of evaluating many different types of evidence when reaching a final decision - which will ultimately change the lives of the defendants and victims involved in a criminal case.

"As the complexity of forensic evidence increases with recent advances in technology, it is important to determine how well jurors understand the value of the evidence.

"Forensic science is featured quite heavily in television programming and news media coverage, and this raises the public interest in forensic techniques. An important aspect of jury decision making is a juror's prior beliefs and knowledge, and this study aims to investigate how potential jurors' perceptions of forensic science impacts on their ability to evaluate different types of evidence.

"This research will improve our understanding of how potential jurors use their prior beliefs about forensic science to inform their decision making when evaluating different types of forensic evidence. This can ultimately contribute to improvements in the way evidence is presented and explained to juries to ensure effective decisions are reached in the courtroom."

Source: University of Leicester

Explore further: Women, poor, uninsured face higher risk of psychological distress: CDC

Related Stories

Computer-generated images influence trial results

Nov 01, 2013

Recent cases involving the use of computer generated images as evidence in courtrooms have shown the powerful impact they can have on jury decision making. But studies show that jurors can be unduly influenced ...

The court will now call its expert witness: the brain

Nov 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Will advances in neuroscience make the justice system more accurate and unbiased? Or could brain-based testing wrongly condemn some and trample the civil liberties of others? The new field ...

Recommended for you

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America

5 hours ago

Article Spotlight features summaries written in collaboration with authors of recently published articles by the Journals Program of the American Psychological Association. The articles are nominated by the editors as noteworthy ...

Demi Lovato gets vocal about mental illness

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Demi Lovato huddled in the back of her tour bus, eyes wet with tears as she watched a horde of fans streaming into the venue where she was about to play.

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults

9 hours ago

If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects ...

How men and women see each other when online dating

11 hours ago

In the world of online dating, nothing is as it seems. But that doesn't stop many of us from leaping to the wrong conclusions about people. A recent paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JerryPark
3 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2008
The study needs to examine the instructions given to juries as well. Juries are told that forensic conclusions are far more accurate or probable than they actually are.
Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Sep 24, 2008
Jury nullification! Fully Informed Jury Association.org

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.