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Boohar, E., Meyer, K., Kelchen, H., Uwineza, T., Westerman, L., Hurtz, M, Eagan, S., & Gervais, S. (2020, April) Scientific Testimony in a Civil Trial: An Examination of Juror Gender and Expert Witness Credibility Factors. Poster for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Undergraduate Research Fair, Lincoln, NE


Copyright 2020 Erika Boohar, Kaela Meyer, Halleigh Kelchen, Trina Uwineza, Laurel Westerman, Morgan Hurtz, Sarah Eagan, & Sarah Gervais


Jurors’ perceptions of expert witness credibility are vital to the expert’s overall effectiveness as juror credibility ratings are related to sentencing recommendations (Larson, 2010). There are many factors that jurors use to evaluate expert witness credibility and some studies suggest that expert gender may be peripherally related (Sculler & Cripps, 1998); however, these results are inconsistent. The present study explored the relationship between jurors’ gender and how credible they perceive a female expert witness. It was hypothesized that the female expert witness will not be perceived as highly credible, and this effect will be larger for men. Additionally, it was hypothesized that ambivalent sexism will moderate the association between the male and female jurors and their perceptions of credibility. Participants completed an array of measures then viewed a civil trial in which a confederate female expert witness presented information about neurological functioning. Acting as a mock juror, participants completed an additional assessment battery. Supplemental analyses were conducted to further examine which expert witness characteristics (knowledge, likability, trustworthiness, and confidence) were the most prominent. Results suggest that neither hostile nor benevolent sexism significantly moderated the relationship between juror gender and expert witness credibility; however, there were significant differences in which traits were important for men versus women. Given the inconsistency in the literature, this suggests that there may be additional factors that are influencing the relationship.

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