Gabora, N. J., Spanos, N. P., & Joab, A. (1993). The effects of complainant age and expert psychological testimony in a simulated child sexual abuse trial. Law and Human Behavior, 17, 103-119.
Mock jurors viewed a videotape of a simulated child sexual abuse trial and then deliberated to a unanimous verdict. The complainant was described as either a 13- or 17-year-old female child. Jurors voted to convict more often when the younger complainant was seen, and the younger complainant was rated as more credible than the older complainant. Female jurors voted the defendant guilty more often and rated the complainant as being more credible than male jurors. Jurors voted to convict more often and rated the defendant as less credible when expert psychological testimony was specific to the case than when they were presented with either general expert testimony or no expert testimony. Jurors who saw a psychological expert testify became less accepting of child sexual abuse misconceptions than those in the no expert control condition. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Convictions more likely with younger victim in a child sexual abuse (age 13 vs. 17) and when prosecution expert gave case-specific testimony compared with general testimony or no testimony. Women tended to vote for conviction more than men before and after deliberation but less bias afterward.