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Legal and Psychological Bases of Expert Testimony: Surveys of the Law and of Jurors
Roselle Wissler and Michael J. Saks
2 Behavioral Sciences & the Law 435 (1984)
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This article reviews the basic rules of evidence and procedure that provide the basis for the introduction of expert testimony into court. Second, it reviews some of the findings of social psychology regarding expert testimony, primarily the ways in which the structure of society affects what information will reach the court and what is the readiness of the factfinder to deal with that information. Finally, it reports original data on jurors’ assessments of a variety of witnesses (physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, chemists, document examiners, polygraph examiners, police, eyewitnesses, firearms experts, and accountants and appraisers). Jurors’ differential assessments of the different experts and differences among juror subgroups are reported and some explanations for a few of those differences are tested.
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