Of juries and court-appointed experts: The impact of nonadversarial versus adversarial expert testimony.

Brekke, N. J., Enko, P. J., Clavet, G., & Seelau, E. (1991). Of juries and court-appointed experts: The impact of nonadversarial versus adversarial expert testimony. Law and Human Behavior, 15, 451-475.

The impact of court-appointed (nonadversarial) expert testimony was examined in a jury simulation experiment. A total of 686 registered voters (540 deliberating jurors and 146 nondeliberating alternates) watched a videotaped reenactment of a rape trial in which various aspects of expert testimony were manipulated in a 2(type: rape trauma syndrome vs. polygraph) × 2(mode of presentation: adversarial vs. nonadversarial) × 2(content: one-sided vs. balanced) between-subjects factorial design with an independent no-expert control group. Results indicated that jurors did not accord more weight to nonadversarial expert testimony, nor did nonadversarial expert testimony negatively affect evaluations of trial fairness or judge competence. Deliberating jurors, however, were less responsive to the content of nonadversarial expert testimony than to the content of adversarial expert testimony. Possible mediating mechanisms and implications are discussed. Minor impact of court-appointed expert versus adversarial expert. Adversarial testimony most influential when it clearly favored one side; court-appointed expert testimony influential when one-sided or balanced. Recall of expert testimony better with nonadversarial format.

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