Judgments on witness reliability from written transcripts
Hartman, Julia G.
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A myriad of research has been done on the ways in which different linguistic features can affect perceptions made about the speaker. The judgments made about a speaker can be particularly important in legal settings, like trials. The purpose of this research was to study how witnesses are evaluated by jurors and the aims of the study were: 1) to examine how differing representations of speech may affect judgments made about the speaker; 2) to examine how speakers belonging to differing socioeconomic classes may be judged differently; and 3) to examine how men and women speakers may be judged differently. Participants in the study read witness testimonies of a car accident, and then judged the speakers of each testimony on a five-point scale. The findings of the study were that class and writing style do have an effect on perceptions made about the speaker, but gender does not. This suggests that the way speech is represented in written transcripts, does have an effect on our judgments of the speaker, as does class of the speaker. However, the gender of the speaker does not affect perceptions about said speaker.
2011 Spring theses (MU)