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Jurors Don’t Discount Evidence Obtained From Rough Treatment


The study basically concludes that our bias to view experts (authority) as more reliable overrides our perceptions and objective evaluation of the situation under which information is obtained.

Jurors, it is thought, tend to put themselves in the shoes of the person under duress and project their own principles. This means that jurors think ‘if i were innocent, i would never confess even if tortured.’ Because “potential jurors do not appear to understand the link between psychologically coercive interrogation and false confessions,” the authors suggest that expert testimony about the effects of coercive interrogations might trigger the jurors’ expert bias in a salutary way.

Situational factors – in the form of interrogation tactics – have been reported to unduly influence innocent suspects to confess. This study assessed jurors’ perceptions of these factors and tested whether expert witness testimony on confessions informs jury decision-making. In Study 1, jurors rated interrogation tactics on their level of coerciveness and likelihood that each would elicit true and false confessions. Most jurors perceived interrogation tactics to be coercive and likely to elicit confessions from guilty, but not from innocent suspects. This result motivated Study 2 in which an actual case involving a disputed confession was used to assess the influence of expert testimony on jurors’ perceptions and evaluations of interrogations and confession evidence. The results revealed an important influence of expert testimony on mock-jurors decisions.