Professor Young S. Kim and Professor Gregg Barak, both of the Eastern Michigan University Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology, and The Honorable Donald E. Shelton, Circuit Judge of the 22nd Circuit Court of Michigan, have published two articles reporting results of empirical research on the so-called “CSI Effect” upon jurors. Here are the citations and abstracts:
Examining the “CSI-effect” in the Cases of Circumstantial Evidence and Eyewitness Testimony: Multivariate and Path Analyses, 37 Journal of Criminal Justice 452 (2009) (click here for full-text of published version) (click here for full-text of preprint on bepress).
- ABSTRACT: “As part of a larger investigation of the changing nature of juror behavior in the context of technology development, this study examined important questions unanswered by previous studies on the ‘CSI-effect.’ In answering such questions, the present study applied multivariate and path analyses for the first time. The results showed that (a) watching CSI dramas had no independent effect on jurors’ verdicts, (b) the exposure to CSI dramas did not interact with individual characteristics, (c) different individual characteristics were significantly associated with different types of evidence, and (d) CSI watching had no direct effect on jurors’ decisions, and it had an indirect effect on conviction in the case of circumstantial evidence only as it raised expectations about scientific evidence, but it produced no indirect effect in the case of eyewitness testimony only. Finally, implications of the present study as well as for future research on the ‘CSI-effect’ on jurors are discussed.”
An Indirect-Effects Model of Mediated Adjudication: The CSI Myth, the Tech Effect, and Metropolitan Jurors’ Expectations for Scientific Evidence, forthcoming in Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law.
- ABSTRACT: “Part I of this article defines the ‘CSI effect’, given that the phrase has come to have many different meanings ascribed to it. It emphasizes the epistemological importance of first describing the effect of the ‘CSI effect’ as observed in juror behavior documented in a new study conducted in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan, and then looking at causative factors that may be related to an explanation of those observed effects. Part II describes the methodology of the Wayne County study, provides a descriptive analysis of Wayne County jurors, and compares the jurors demographically to the Washtenaw County jurors who were surveyed in 2006. Part III analyzes the Wayne County study results with respect to jurors’ expectations and demands for scientific evidence. The Wayne County study findings reinforce the earlier Washtenaw findings of heightened juror expectations and demands for scientific evidence in almost every respect. This most recent analysis of the impact of viewing CSI or similar programs on jurors in Wayne County likewise reinforces the conclusions from the earlier Washtenaw County study that there is no such causative relationship between watching CSI and the heightened expectations and demands of jurors. Part IV explores the nature of the ‘tech effect’ as one causative factor for those heightened juror expectations and demands as an alternative to the ‘CSI effect.’ It also proposes an indirect-effects model of juror influences that combines the perception of a ‘CSI effect” with the ‘tech effect’ of modern scientific advances and the generalized effect of media portrayals about crime. This model triangulates the potential interactive effects of a ‘CSI effect’ myth with the likelihood of a ‘tech effect’ in the context of the ‘mass mediated effects’ of law and order or crime and justice news. The results of regression analyses of data from Wayne County jurors provide some support for the 2006 study’s suggestion of a ‘tech effect’ — that the broader changes in popular culture brought about by rapid scientific and technological advances and widespread dissemination of information about them is a more likely explanation for increased juror expectations and demand for scientific evidence in the courtroom than simply viewing CSI or related programs. Part V provides an overview of contemporary perspectives of ‘mass-mediated effects’ on public attitudes, behaviors, and expectations as a prelude to the suggested Indirect-effects Model of Mediated Adjudication.”
Many thanks to Judge Shelton and Professor Barak for pointing to the full-text and abstracts of these articles.