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The impact of graphic photographic evidence on mock jurors' decisions in a murder trial: probative or prejudicial?

Law and human behavior. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Although courts in the United States and Canada regularly admit graphic photographs into evidence, little research exists on whether such evidence prejudices the decisions of jurors. Mock jurors (N = 120) read a detailed trial transcript of a murder trial, and were either presented with color, black and white, or no photographs of an actual murder victim. The proportion of guilty verdicts in the color and the black and white photograph conditions was approximately double that in the control condition. Both groups were more likely than the control condition to report emotional distress and physical reactions in response to viewing the photographs. By contrast, there were few differences between groups concerning the extent to which participants felt that the photographs influenced verdicts. Participants in all conditions equally felt that they had acted fairly. Implications surrounding the admissibility of graphic photographic evidence, and the seeming inability of participants to recognize that their judgments were biased, are discussed.
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Record TypeJournal Article
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