Dateline: January, 2008, Issue 3

Are jurors most persuaded by clinical or actuarial psychological expert testimony?

Expert psychological testimony can be clinical or actuarial. Clinical expert psychological testimony is based on a clinician's opinion stemming from years of experience within the field. Actuarial expert psychological testimony is based on standardized assessment measures.

Krauss (2000) explored whether jurors were more influenced in their decision-making in a capital sentencing hearing by expert testimony based on a clinician's years of experience or by expert testimony based on standardized assessment measures.

The research found that jurors were more influenced by clinical opinion expert testimony than actuarial expert testimony. Jurors' preference for clinical opinion expert testimony remained even after both cross-examination and competing experts were presented.

Source Krauss, D. A. (2000). The effect of clinical vs. scientific expert testimony on mock juror decision-making in capital sentencing. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 61(3-B), p. 1639.