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Juror Comprehension of Forensic Expert Testimony: A Literature Review and Gap Analysis

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International: Synergy Volume: 1 Dated: 2019 Pages: 24e-34e
Date Published
11 pages

This article reviews the literature from the cognitive psychology domain that explores the question of what jurors understand when forensic scientists testify.


Forensic scientists and commentators, including academics and statisticians, have been embroiled in a debate over the best way to present evidence in the courtroom. Various forms of evidence presentation, both quantitative and qualitative, have been championed, yet amidst the furor over the most "correct" or "accurate" way to present evidence, the perspective of the fact-finder is often lost. Without comprehension, correctness is moot. The literature reviewed in the current study is a body of work has begun to test various proposed methods of delivering court testimony in an effort to understand which are most effective at communicating the strength of evidence that is intended by the expert. This article is a review of that literature that is intended for the forensic scientist community. Its aim is to educate that community on the findings of completed studies and to identify suggestions for further research that will inform changes in testimony delivery and ensure that any modifications can be implemented with confidence in their effectiveness. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019