Guidance on cross-examination improves accuracy of witness testimony
Liverpool, UK - 15 June 2010: Researchers have found that witnesses who receive guidance on cross-examination techniques present more accurate court testimony than those who are unfamiliar with the style of questioning.
The study, by researchers at the Universities of Liverpool and Leeds, showed that the construction and phrasing of ‘lawyerese' questions can inhibit processes in the brain that impact on how a witness responds under cross-examination. The use of complex questions, containing multiple parts, double-negatives and advanced vocabulary may affect the brain’s ability to filter and streamline information effectively.
Researchers showed more than 50 participants footage of a staged crime, as though they were eye-witnesses, and then subjected them to the kind of questioning techniques they might encounter in court. They found that participants,