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Trust as a Multilevel Phenomenon: Implications for Improved Integrative Science in Trust Research

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Examinations of trust have advanced steadily over the past several decades, yielding important insights within criminal justice, economics, environmental studies, management and industrial organization, psychology, political science, and sociology. Cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of trust, however, have been limited

Examinations of trust have advanced steadily over the past several decades, yielding important insights within criminal justice, economics, environmental studies, management and industrial organization, psychology, political science, and sociology. Cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of trust, however, have been limited by differences in defining and measuring trust and in methodological approaches. In this chapter, we take the position that: 1) cross-disciplinary studies can be improved by recognizing trust as a multilevel phenomenon, and 2) context impacts the nature of trusting relations. We present an organizing framework for conceptualizing trust between trustees and trustors at person, group, and institution levels. The differences between these levels have theoretical implications for the study of trust and that might be used to justify distinctions in definitions and methodological approaches across settings. We highlight where the levels overlap and describe how this overlap has created confusion in the trust literature to date. Part of the overlap – and confusion – is the role of interpersonal trust at each level. We delineate when and how interpersonal trust is theoretically relevant to conceptualizing and measuring trust at each level and suggest that other trust-related constructs, such as perceived legitimacy, competence, and integrity, may be more important than interpersonal trust at some levels and in some contexts. Translating findings from trust research in one discipline to another and collaborating across disciplines may be facilitated if researchers ensure that their levels of conceptualization and measurement are aligned, and that models developed for a particular context are relevant in other, distinct contexts.

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2016

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Expert Witness Credibility as a Function of Eye Contact Behavior and Gender

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The effect of eye contact on credibility was examined via a 3 (low, medium, high eye contact) x 2 (male, female) between-groups design with 232 undergraduate participants. A trial transcript excerpt about a defendant’s recidivism likelihood was utilized as the

The effect of eye contact on credibility was examined via a 3 (low, medium, high eye contact) x 2 (male, female) between-groups design with 232 undergraduate participants. A trial transcript excerpt about a defendant’s recidivism likelihood was utilized as the experts’ script. A main effect was found: experts with high eye contact had higher credibility ratings than in the medium and low conditions. Although a confound precluded comparisons between the genders, results indicated that males with high eye contact were more credible than males with medium or low eye contact. The female experts’ credibility wasn’t significantly different regardless of eye contact. Eye contact may be especially important for males: male experts should maintain eye contact for maximum credibility.

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Date Created
2008

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Credibility in the Courtroom: How Likeable Should an Expert Witness Be?

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This study sought to investigate the relation between expert witness likeability and juror judgments of credibility and sentencing. Two actors playing expert witnesses were trained to present themselves as high and low in likeability in a standard testimony scenario involving

This study sought to investigate the relation between expert witness likeability and juror judgments of credibility and sentencing. Two actors playing expert witnesses were trained to present themselves as high and low in likeability in a standard testimony scenario involving capital trial sentencing. The effects of extraversion and gender in mock jurors in attending to expert testimony were also examined. The dependent variables were the perceptions of the witnesses’ credibility and agreement with testimony and the participants were 210 psychology undergraduates. Likeability of expert witnesses was found to be significantly related to judgments of trustworthiness of the experts, but not related to confidence or knowledge of the experts or to the mock juror sentencing decisions. Women participants rated high likeable experts as more credible than low likeable experts; men did not. For men jurors, agreement with testimony increased as extraversion increased. However, for women jurors, agreement with testimony decreased as extraversion increased. The results suggest that likeability can be an important element of source credibility, and that attorneys and trial consultants now have an empirical foundation for addressing likeability as part of witness preparation.

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Date Created
2009

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Warmth and Competence on the Witness Stand: Implications for Credibility of Male and Female Expert Witnesses

Description

This study examined how manipulations of likeability and knowledge affected mock jurors’ perceptions of female and male expert witness credibility (N=290). Our findings extend the person perception literature by demonstrating how warmth and competence overlap with existing conceptions of likeability

This study examined how manipulations of likeability and knowledge affected mock jurors’ perceptions of female and male expert witness credibility (N=290). Our findings extend the person perception literature by demonstrating how warmth and competence overlap with existing conceptions of likeability and credibility in the psycholegal domain. We found experts high in likeability and/or knowledge were perceived equally positively regardless of gender in a death penalty sentencing context. Gender differences emerged when the expert was low in likeability and/or knowledge; in these conditions the male expert was perceived more positively than the comparable female expert. Although intermediate judgments (e.g., perceptions of credibility) were affected by our manipulations, ultimate decisions (e.g., sentencing) were not. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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2012

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The Observed Witness Efficacy Scale: A Measurement of Effective Testimony Skills

Description

Despite advances in the scientific methodology of witness testimony research, no sound measure currently exists to evaluate perceptions of testimony skills. Drawing on self-efficacy and witness preparation research, the present study describes development of the Observed Witness Efficacy Scale (OWES).

Despite advances in the scientific methodology of witness testimony research, no sound measure currently exists to evaluate perceptions of testimony skills. Drawing on self-efficacy and witness preparation research, the present study describes development of the Observed Witness Efficacy Scale (OWES). Factor analyses of a mock jury sample yielded a two-factor structure (Poise and Communication Style) consistent with previous research on witness self-ratings of testimony delivery skills. OWES subscales showed differential patterns of association with witness credibility, witness believability, agreement with the witness, and verdict decision. Juror gender moderated the impact of Communication Style, but not Poise, on belief of and agreement with the witness. Results are discussed with attention to application of the OWES to witness research and preparation training.

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Date Created
2013

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Women as Expert Witnesses: A Review of the Literature

Description

This review of women’s participation in the legal system as expert witnesses examines the empirical literature on the perceived credibility and persuasiveness of women compared to men experts. The effects of expert gender are complex and sometimes depend on the

This review of women’s participation in the legal system as expert witnesses examines the empirical literature on the perceived credibility and persuasiveness of women compared to men experts. The effects of expert gender are complex and sometimes depend on the circumstances of the case. Some studies find no differences, some find favorable effects for women and others for men, and still others find that expert gender interacts with other circumstances of the case. The findings are interpreted through social role theory (Eagly, 1987) and the role incongruity theory of prejudice (Eagly & Karau, 2002, Eagly & Koenig, 2008). Future directions for research are identified and implications are considered for attorneys who select and prepare expert witnesses. Suggestions for men and women’s behavior as expert witnesses are provided.

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2014-03-13