The Effects of Expert Testimony On Mock Jurors' Decision Making and Memory

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This experiment examined the influence of two types of expert testimony (specific and general) on mock jurors' decision making and memory of a legal case involving a repressed memory of childhood sexual abuse. Participants were exposed to one of four conditions (specific plaintiff expert testimony - specific defense expert testimony, specific plaintiff expert testimony - general expert defense testimony, general plaintiff expert testimony - specific defense expert testimony, or general plaintiff expert testimony - general defense expert testimony), awarded damages to the plaintiff, and completed a free recall memory task. Gender differences were found for monetary damages with women awarding more than twice as much as men. Women also remembered more of the trial than did their male counterparts. Additionally, subjects who were exposed to specific expert testimonies were able to recall more than subjects in the general expert testimony condition. Possible reasons for these results and the implications are discussed.

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