Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Dan Krauss

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© 2012 Matthew Nicholas Armstrong

Abstract

The current study looks to examine the possible effects expert witness trustworthiness and testimony quality depending upon participant need for cognition. The study involves 139 participants taken from Amazon's Mechanical Turk and an undergraduate research pool where they were asked to take part in a web-based survey. Participants read a capital sentencing summary and were randomly selected into one of four expert witness conditions that vary in trustworthiness and quality. Participants took the short form Need for Cognition scale and filled out a questionnaire about their perceptions of the expert's trustworthiness and testimony quality. Results indicated a marginal main effect of the trustworthiness condition as well as a marginal three-way interaction. Additionally, significant main effects for the sample and death qualification status of participants were found. Results are discussed in the context of the current study and past research and possible limitations and extensions of the current study are considered.

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