Videotaped Versus In‐Court Witness Testimony: Does Protecting the Child Witness Jeopardize Due Process?

Janet K. Swim, Eugene Borgida, Kathy Mcoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Videotaping depositions may protect a child witness from the stress of testifying in court but also may influence jurors’ perceptions of the child and the defendant, and jurors’ verdicts in systematic ways. The present study examines several psychological hypotheses that emerge from the controversy over the use of videotaped depositions of child witnesses in child sexual abuse trials. We predicted that student jurors viewing a videotaped deposition would be more proprosecution and less prodefense than those who did not receive testimony in such a form. Thus, it was predicted that jurors viewing a videotaped deposition would perceive the prosecution witnesses and their testimonies more favorably, the defense witnesses and their testimonies less favorably, and give more guilty verdicts than jurors who viewed identical testimony during the course of a trial. We also predicted that females would be more proprosecution and less prodefense than males and that this gender difference would be accentuated by the medium of presentation. The medium of presentation had only a few effects on jurors’ responses. However, when differences emerged, they generally provided support for the predicted main effects. The implications of these findings for the use of videotaped depositions of child sexual abuse victims are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-631
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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