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Law Hum Behav. 2011 Jun;35(3):200-10. doi: 10.1007/s10979-010-9232-6.

After 30 years, what do we know about what jurors know? A meta-analytic review of lay knowledge regarding eyewitness factors.

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  • 1University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Surveys typically characterize lay knowledge of eyewitness factors as low and highly variable. However, there are notable differences across methodologies, samples, and individual factors. To examine these differences systematically, we took a meta-analytic approach to reviewing the findings of 23 surveys assessing lay knowledge of eyewitness issues. Our analyses examined the beliefs of 4,669 respondents. Overall, respondents correctly agreed with survey items approximately two-thirds of the time. Results revealed significant differences in performance as a function of variable type, question format, and over time. We found few differences as a function of sample type, publication status, or jurisdiction. Although performance varied, a majority of lay respondents achieved "correct" consensus for as many as 11 of the 16 items included in this review.

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