Look at Pinocchio’s Nose: Does Witness Demeanour Detract Attention from Case Evidence?

Phillis, Kathryne (2013). Look at Pinocchio’s Nose: Does Witness Demeanour Detract Attention from Case Evidence? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Phillis, Kathryne
Thesis Title Look at Pinocchio’s Nose: Does Witness Demeanour Detract Attention from Case Evidence?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Blake McKimmie
Total pages 95
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Previous research has demonstrated that mock jurors may be influenced by witness demeanour in their decision-making. Two studies were conducted to investigate whether witness demeanour, in particular the most commonly held stereotype that liars avert their gaze, would undermine mock jurors paying attention to the strength of a witness’ testimony. In Study 1, participants (N = 84) read a hypothetical vignette concerning an armed robbery then watched a mock video witness testimony in which strength of evidence (weak alibi or strong alibi) and witness demeanour (deceptive or non-deceptive) were manipulated. Contrary to predictions, evidence strength did not have a stronger effect on mock jurors’ perceptions when the witness displayed non-deceptive demeanour compared to deceptive demeanour. Study 2 was conducted to see if specifically drawing participants’ attention to the witness’ demeanour through a judicial direction would exacerbate a witness demeanour effect on strength of evidence. Participants (N = 89) read the hypothetical vignette, were either presented with a direction instructing them to pay attention to the witness’ demeanour or no direction, then watched the strong alibi witness testimony where witness demeanour was manipulated (deceptive or non-deceptive). Although participants evaluated the defendant and witness more negatively when the witness displayed deceptive demeanour, compared to non-deceptive demeanour, contrary to predictions the direction did not exacerbate this effect. These mixed findings suggest that further research is needed. The current research has important applied implications for the courts, particularly in relation to a defendant’s right to a fair trial and judges’ potential use of directions.
Keyword Witness demeanour
case evidence

 
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Created: Fri, 04 Jul 2014, 09:12:58 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology