Opening up a can of worms: how do decision-makers decide when witnesses are telling the truth?

Coyle, Ian R. and Thomson, Donald M. (2014) Opening up a can of worms: how do decision-makers decide when witnesses are telling the truth? Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 21 (4). pp. 475-491. ISSN 1321-8719


Correctly determining witness credibility is integral to a fair trial. Assessments of credibility made by the triers of fact are made, amongst other things, by reference to behavioural stereotypes that are commonly thought to be associated with lying and truth-telling. These stereotypes
are worthless but pervasive. In this study, potential jurors were given information such as would be given by way of judicial direction and/or expert testimony on those behavioural indicia that are useful in detecting deception. Major changes in perceptions of what does and does not work were found. This has significant implications for the conduct of criminal trials. Recommendations are presented which, it is argued, can be of real, practical, assistance in enabling decision-makers to assess the credibility of witnesses.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology, Counselling and Community
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2013 05:05
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2017 05:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: credibility; demeanour; detection; jurors; truthfulness; witnesses
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220105 Legal Ethics
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180120 Legal Institutions (incl. Courts and Justice Systems)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1602 Criminology > 160203 Courts and Sentencing
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940406 Legal Processes
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2013.837803

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