Juror’s Perception of Recovered Memory, Type of Trauma & Adult Witness Demeanor

The study below was conducted in 2001 yet there seems to be little change in public opinion that emotional responses to alleged injury is credible without using logic to question whether or not an incident occurred.


Juror‘s Perception of Recovered Memory, Type of Trauma

and Adult Witness Demeanor


College students judged the testimony in a civil trial in which a childhood memory had been recovered after 20 years. Participants were 108 students (n = 79 female and 29 male) enrolled in undergraduate psychology courses. The design was a 2 X 2 X 2 between subjects factorial design which investigated effects of the type of incident (sexual abuse/hit-and-run), how the memory was recovered (therapy/wedding), and type of testimony (assertive/emotional).

The study determined that mock jurors were likely to perceive the plaintiff‘s testimony as credible when she testified she was sexually abused as a child rather than when she was a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

The results also indicated that testimonial demeanor had a significant effect on mock jurors’ perception of the plaintiff’s credibility and that if a female victim testifies with a nonemotional stereotypical masculine demeanor, the jurors may react in a negative manner.

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