Dateline: April, 2007, Issue 4

Is incriminating evidence more powerful when presented first or last during a trial?

Incriminating evidence can be presented first, in the middle, or last in a trial.

Costabile and Klein (2005) recently studied the timing of evidence presentation on juror verdicts in 4 separate experiments.

Incriminating evidence was more likely to lead to a guilty verdict when it was presented late in the trial than when it was presented early.

Evidence presented late in a trial was more likely to be remembered by jurors and thus more likely to influence jurors' verdicts, an effect found to be true for both admissible and inadmissible evidence.

Source Costabile, K. A. & Klein, S. B. (2005). Finishing strong: Recency effects in juror judgments. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27, pp. 47-58.