Jurors’ perceptions of scientific testimony: The role of gender and testimony complexity in trials involving DNA evidence
With continuous advancements in forensic science, expert testimony has become more common in criminal proceedings. This study (N = 170) sought to examine the combined influence of mock juror gender, expert gender, and testimony complexity in a case involving DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) evidence. Findings revealed that testimony complexity interacted with expert gender to influence verdict judgments. Participants were unaffected by testimony complexity when the expert was a man, but were more likely to convict when complex testimony was presented by a woman. In support of the heuristic-systematic model, expert gender elicited an effect only in high-complexity conditions—interestingly, this was exclusively the case for male mock jurors. Understanding how jurors cognitively process legal and extra-legal information may help legal actors (e.g., evidence experts, lawyers) communicate evidence and its legal relevance more effectively.
|Keywords||DNA evidence, gender, testimony complexity, verdict|
Maeder, E.M, McManus, L.A. (Laura A.), McLaughlin, K.J. (Kendra J.), Yamamoto, S. (Susan), & Stewart, H. (Hannah). (2016). Jurors’ perceptions of scientific testimony: The role of gender and testimony complexity in trials involving DNA evidence. Cogent Psychology, 3(1). doi:10.1080/23311908.2016.1264657