The "CSI Effect" on Potential Juries: Correlations between Age, Gender, and Program-Watching Habits on Evidence Expectations
The effects that forensic-themed programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has on the public's understanding and expectations of the criminal justice system has been a main focus of study in recent years. This phenomenon was coined by the media and termed the "CSI Effect." This study aimed to research the correlations between age, gender, and program-watching habits on potential juries' evidence expectations in court. To do so, 70 people were surveyed and asked a series of demographic questions, as well as questions about how often they watch forensic-themed shows and their experience with the criminal justice system. They were given a mock crime scene scenario and asked about their scientific and non-scientific evidence expectations in this particular case. The most notable results showed that a longer exposure time to forensic-themed programs correlated to high evidence expectations. However, how often viewers watch forensic-themed programs did not seem to affect their evidence expectations. It was concluded that the higher evidence expectations by modern jurors may be due to a combination of the "CSI Effect" and the newly hypothesized "Tech Effect," instead of just being the consequence of the watching too much forensic-themed television.