Wilson Center for Science and Justice
Duke Law logo

Eyewitness Identification Research

March 20, 2020

Our work, with collaborators at UVA and U. Utah, studying eyewitness evidence in court is available on OSF here.  Below is a description Рand watch out for updates in the months ahead.

This part of the project involves studies of how jurors perceive eyewitness evidence in the courtroom. States like New Jersey, following the state supreme court ruling in State v. Henderson, have adopted very lengthy jury instructions on eyewitness evidence, but the National Academy of Sciences report, “Identifying the Culprit,” suggested expert testimony would be preferable.

We aim to study which is effective and in light of prior research suggesting that eyewitnesses place great weight on the confidence of an eyewitness, whether either form of instruction can help jurors look beyond confidence and appreciate what might or might not make that confidence correlate with accuracy. To do that work, studying how to best convey eyewitness research and information in the courtroom, we will conduct mock-trial studies.