Title

Mock Juror and Jury Assessments of Blinded Expert Witnesses

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2016

Editor(s)

Christopher T. Robertson & Aaron S. Kesselheim

ISBN

9780128026335

Publisher

Elsevier, Academic Press

Language

en-US

Abstract

Expert witnesses' findings may be biased because of partisan affiliation with the client who has hired them and because of financial incentives to offer an opinion favorable to this party. Blinding expert witnesses to which party is requesting their opinion is one solution to this problem. Previous research has shown that using a blinded expert in a mock medical malpractice trial increases mock jurors' assessment of the expert's credibility and results in more juror votes favoring the party employing this expert. The studies in this chapter extend prior research by examining the effects of blinded experts on civil mock jury deliberations and criminal mock juror verdicts. We found that blinding of experts had very substantial effects on jury deliberations, causing blinded experts to be viewed as more credible. Nonetheless, other case facts and competing cultural values were also very salient during deliberations. In addition, we demonstrated that use of blinded experts increased the likelihood of a not guilty verdict for the defense in a criminal trial, but did not have a similar effect for the prosecution.

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