PSYC 376 Unit 9

  1. How does Black’s Law Dictionary define credibility?
    Worthiness of belief
  2. In R. v. W. (D.), 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada articulated a strategy to use when adjudicating a case that rests on credibility. The strategy involves three (3) questions that the trier of fact should answer. What are the three questions?
    First, if you believe the evidence of the accused, obviously you must acquit. (1)

    Second, if you do not believe the testimony of the accused but you are left in reasonable doubt by it, you must acquit. (1)

    Third, even if you are not left in doubt by the evidence of the accused, you must ask yourself whether, on the basis of the evidence which you do accept, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt by that evidence of the guilt of the accused. (1)
  3. Discuss the two-factor model of credibility and explain when and why each factor is more likely to be given more weight.
    According to the two-factor model of credibility, overall credibility is based on perceptions of the honesty (1) and the perceived cognitive competence (1) of the witness. In all cases, the ultimate question is “How accurate is this witness?” (1) Whether a trier of fact relies more on perceptions of honesty or cognitive ability to make the final decision will depend on the context of the crime under investigation. Briefly stated, if the crime context is familiar to the witness, such as when the perpetrator is known to the witness, the crime occurs in a familiar location, and it occurred repeatedly (1), perceived honesty will carry more weight than perceived cognitive competence in the overall evaluation of credibility. (1) This is because the forensically relevant details are relatively easy to remember (1) and the witness will be accurate as long as he or she is trying to be honest. (1) On the other hand, if the crime context is unfamiliar, (1) for instance being a bystander witness to a motor vehicle accident in an unfamiliar location and involving unknown individuals, the task of recalling forensically relevant details (for instance, the color of the light when the car proceeded into an intersection) is cognitively difficult (1) and so perceived cognitive competence carries more weight than perceived honesty (1) in the overall evaluation of credibility.
  4. Describe the Sufficiency Principle in law and what it means for some child complainants.
    A criminal charge must describe the offence so as to “lift it from the general to the particular.” (1) This principle may require children (and other witnesses alleging a repeated offence) to report details of instances of the alleged offence. (1)
  5. Compared to a report of a unique event, a report of an instance of a repeated event is different on several linguistic characteristics. Name five of those characteristics.
    More use of the present tense

    More use of impersonal pronouns

    More use of temporal markers

    More complex,

    Less distinctly associated with time and place,

    Less consistent across reports,

    Sometimes reported with more confidence
  6. Castelli, Goodman, and Ghetti (2004) opined that perceived credibility is at least as important as what?
    d. Accuracy
  7. If a judge discusses the demeanor of a witness, what is he or she evaluating?
    a. Credibility
  8. If a judge discusses the consistency of testimony, what is he or she evaluating?
    b. Reliability
  9. When assessing credibility, the credibility assessor may decide to believe ____________ of the witness’s evidence.
    d. some, none, or all
  10. An expert is permitted to testify as to the credibility of a witness. Is this statement true?
    b. No
  11. Who makes decisions about the credibility of a witness?
    d. The trier of fact
  12. Can a finding of credibility be appealed?
    c. Yes
  13. In trials that rest on the evidence of witnesses, a trial court will consider both the credibility of the witness and the reliability of the evidence. Which of these two analyses should carry more weight?
    b. Reliability
  14. When credibility is being assessed, what is the ultimate question?
    b. How accurate is the report?
  15. In psychology, credibility is made up of two factors. What are they?
    c. Cognitive competence and honesty
  16. In a case that involves familiar people, locations, and actions what are the expected developmental differences in perceived credibility?
    a. Younger children are judged to be more credible than older children and adults
  17. In a case that involves unfamiliar people, locations, and actions, which factor carries more weight in an overall assessment of credibility?
    b. Cognitive competence
  18. It is generally believed that young children are incapable of constructing a believable lie. How might this become an advantage when credibility is being assessed?
    a. They are seen as honest
  19. What level of detail in a prosecution witness’s testimony is most advantageous to the defense?
    c. A more detailed witness if some of the details are refuted
  20. According to Bell and Loftus (1989), why do witnesses who provide more trivial details in their testimony appear more believable?
    d. A witness who remembers trivial details is thought to have better memory for central details too.
  21. According to Berman and Cutler (1996), does it matter to judgments of witness effectiveness if a witness’s in-court testimony is inconsistent with previous in-court statements or inconsistent with previous out-of court statements?
    c. No, both affect ratings similarly
  22. According to Berman, Narby, and Cutler (1995), if a witness is consistent on all central details but inconsistent on some peripheral details, is witness credibility affected?
    c. Yes, a witness who is inconsistent on either central or peripheral details is seen a less credible that a witness who is consistent on both
  23. According to Brewer and Burke (2002), if you were a defense lawyer and your star witness was somewhat inconsistent on some details of the alleged offence, how would you prefer your witness to testify?
    b. With high confidence
  24. According to Brewer and Burke (2002) under what condition is a consistent witness not very compelling?
    d. When the witness lacks confidence
  25. According to Conte, Sorenson, Fogary, and Rosa (1991) what is the most important factors triers of fact consider when evaluating the reliability of children’s reports?
    c. Consistency
  26. According to Brewer, Potter, Fisher, Bond, and Lusczc (1999) what is the relationship between report consistency and report accuracy?
    a. Weak (2% – 20% of the variability in accuracy is accounted for by differences in consistency)
  27. If you were a defense attorney, which behavioral response would you like to see from a child complainant when testifying?
    b. Hysterical
  28. In a survey of actual jurors in child sexual abuse cases, what did Meyers et al report were the expected emotions from a child were, in order from most commonly expected to least commonly expected?
    b. crying, fear, confusion
  29. According to Wessel, Magnussen, and Melinder (2013), what emotion is most likely to have a negative effect on perceptions of a child’s credibility?
    d. Anger
  30. Based on studies of actual child witnesses, how do most child witnesses react in court?
    d. There is no single common demeanor
  31. In approximately ___ of the allegations of sexual child abuse the child complainant alleges repeated abuse.
    c. half
  32. What may account for different finding with respect to children’s perceived credibility in the context of repeated events?
    a. those who report higher credibility ratings for a repeated event compared to a unique event used events that were largely fixed
  33. “To date, __________________is probably the most popular instrument for assessing the veracity of child witnesses' testimony in trials for sexual offences” (Vrij, 2005, p. 3).
    d. statement validity analysis
  34. In which jurisdiction(s) is an expert permitted to provide expert evidence in criminal court based on an assessment of a child’s credibility using Statement Validity Analysis
    b. Europe
  35. An expert in Canada has been asked to conduct a CBCA analysis of a child who reported having been abused by her step-father. There is a criminal charge pending. The immediate issue concerns child protection, however. Do you think the expert will be permitted to testify as to her conclusion on the child’s credibility?
    c. Some provinces have permitted an expert to render an opinion on credibility in these kinds of circumstances.
  36. Statement Validity Analysis contains three components. Which of the following is NOT a component of SVA?
    b. A review of corroborative evidence
  37. Which of the following report characteristics is not under the category of specific content in Criteria-based Content Analysis?
    b. Pardoning the perpetrator
  38. Why did Vrij conclude that Statement Validity Analysis (SVA) should not be the subject of expert testimony in criminal courts?
    d. SVA does an adequate job of classifying true and false report, but the error rate for both classifications is still too high
Card Set
PSYC 376 Unit 9