Lange et al. on Contextual Biases in the Interpretation of Auditory Evidence

Nick D. Lange of the University of Oklahoma Department of Psychology Decision Processes Laboratory, and colleagues, have published Contextual Biases in the Interpretation of Auditory Evidence, forthcoming in Law and Human Behavior. Here is the abstract:

Noisy recordings of dialogue often serve as evidence in criminal proceedings. The present article explores the ability of two types of contextual information, currently present in the legal system, to bias subjective interpretations of such evidence. The present experiments demonstrate that the general context of the legal system and the presence of transcripts of the recorded speech are both able to bias interpretations of degraded & benign recordings into interpretable & incriminating. Furthermore we demonstrate a curse of knowledge whereby people become miscalibrated to the true quality of degraded recordings when provided transcripts. Current methods of dealing with auditory evidence are insufficient to mollify the effects of biasing information within the criminal justice system.

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