Friday, November 8, 2013

Computer-generated evidence; New research showing that animations in court can cause jury errors is being discussed this week at UK conference.

STORY: "Animations in court cause jury errors,"  by Susie Watts, published by the Economic and Social Research Council on October 29, 2013.

GIST: "Using animated evidence in court can confuse and bias a jury, according to new research. Computer-generated evidence (CGE) is frequently used in courts as a technique with which to demonstrate complex sequences of events, or collate different pieces of evidence into a more coherent picture. Famously used in the trials of Amanda Knox and in presenting evidence against Oscar Pistorious, one of the advantages of CGE is that it allows a number of different viewpoints to be examined in a way which is often not possible with still images. However, research suggests that using CGE may confuse and bias juries, leading to dangerous errors in judgement. The research by Professor Gareth Norris, a professor of criminology in the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, will be presented at an event as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Festival of Social Science........."Using animation in court can be useful, but it can also be extremely dangerous. While it may be quite useful for criminal justice officials to look at, when it is being used by lay people who aren't used to looking at it you have to be extremely careful. Simply manipulating angles or even colours of vehicles change people's perceptions of events." Professor Norris adds: "Psychology has much to offer the legal system in terms of establishing a range of advice about where and why potential problems might arise. Just as it seems incredible that we would have once put a child witness in a courtroom or introduced relatively unqualified 'experts' to offer advice, so it may also be that we allowed sophisticated techniques of persuasion without any real safeguards or guidelines." This research is being showcased at an event entitled 'Criminology, criminal justice and young people' on 5 November as part of the annual Festival of Social Science, run by the ESRC and taking place between 2-9 November 2013. "

The entire release can be found at:


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