Mock jurors’ awareness of age-related changes in memory and cognitive capacity

Natalie Martschuk, Siegfried Sporer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While age-related changes in memory ahave been well documented, findings about jurors’ perceptions of older witnesses are conflicting. We investigated the effect of victim age (25 vs. 75 years old) and crime severity (victim injured vs. not injured) on mock jurors’ decisions in a robbery trial. Jury-eligible participants (120 women; 84 men) read a mock trial summary and delivered verdicts online. Mock jurors believed the young victim more than the older victim when the crime was severe, while no age differences emerged for the less severe crime. Whereas previous research demonstrated that juror characteristics were generally associated with culpability, we demonstrated that with case-specific information, these general views became less important. In all, mock jurors were aware of age-related decline in memory provided by eyewitnesses only to a limited extent. Accordingly, in trials involving older witnesses, jurors will benefit from educative information about age-related memory changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020

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