NSF Grant to Fund Research on Juror Reactions to Expert Testimony

Assistant Professor of Psychology Dan Krauss will funnel a recent grant from the National Science Foundation into a series of studies examining jurors’ reactions to psychological expert testimony in civil commitment for sexually violent offenders. The study, in collaboration with Professor Joel Lieberman of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will examine groups of college students, as well as representative jury bodies, to determine the impact that expert testimony has on jury verdicts.

“The legal system can use psychological expertise well or poorly,” Krauss says. “Often, expert testimony is not so expert, and jurors are influenced unfairly by bad science.”

Designed for significant student research involvement, four undergraduates and two graduate students will work on the first year of studies, Krauss says, while eight undergraduates and two graduate students undertake the second year of research.
Krauss says the grant, nearly $180,000 over two years, demonstrates that “small schools focusing on undergraduate education can conduct quality research, and receive important grants from the government.”