Dateline: November, 2006, Issue 1

Are experts more persuasive to jurors using anecdotal cases or experimental data?

In recent research, Bornstein (2004) found that the type of expert testimony presented in a personal injury case influenced individual verdicts. The defendant in the personal injury case was more likely to obtain a favorable verdict when the defendant's expert presented anecdotal case histories than when the expert presented experimental data.

Jurors found experts presenting anecdotal case histories to be more credible, and this perception of credibility was related to their liability judgments in the personal injury case. Liability judgments were also affected by some jurors' preference for numerical information and their "need for cognition" (i.e., tendency to think a lot, about everything, all the time).

Source Bornstein, B.H. (2004). The impact of different types of expert scientific testimony on mock jurors' liability verdicts. Psychology, Crime & Law, 10, pp. 429-446.