Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Persuasiveness and sensitivity to witnessing conditions depend on how testimony is presented

Summary The present experiment examined the persuasiveness (measured primarily by proportions of guilty verdicts) of the testimony of a single eyewitness as a function of witnessing conditions and method of presenting the testimony–via a Video or Audio recording or a written Transcript or Summary. Proportions of guilty verdicts showed little variation across presentation methods when witnessing conditions were relatively good, but were higher for Video and Audio presentations than for Transcript and Summary presentations when witnessing conditions were relatively poor. These results combined to show a decrease in sensitivity to witnessing conditions for Video and Audio presentations relative to Transcript and Summary presentations. These results were accounted for by a simple weighted cues model.

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