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The relationships between jurors' thinking styles and their evaluations of expert evidence

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posted on 2023-05-28, 00:03 authored by Hateley, I
Jurors are tasked with analysing evidence presented to them by experts and coming to a verdict based on such information. The presentation of DNA evidence is statistical, often presented as a random match probability. Jurors, who are lay people without prior knowledge of the techniques of DNA analysis, or statistics, risk diverting to common heuristics such as the white coat effect when analysing this information. Individual differences in processing style might influence how jurors appraise evidence. This study examined the relationship between scores in the cognitive reflection task (CRT) and faith in intuition scale (FI) and evaluations of DNA evidence presented by an expert. Participants read case notes pertaining to a crime, rated the strength of evidence, then were randomly allocated to a strong or weak expert testimony condition, and again rated strength of evidence. Participants completed the CRT and FI afterwards. Results showed no meaningful correlation between CRT and the difference in strength of evidence from the case notes to the expert, but a meaningful negative correlation between FI and the difference was found. This suggests individuals high in FI are unlikely to update their beliefs once they form an initial opinion, possibly due to the conservatism heuristic.

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