Forensic experts who are expected to be totally impartial during testimony have a tendency to show favoritism to the side that hired them, according to a study published recently in the journal Psychological Science.
Researchers from the University of Virginia and Sam Houston State University in Texas paid 108 forensic psychologists and psychiatrists to review identical offender case files. Some were told they were consulting for the defense and some were told they were consulting for the prosecution.
When asked to assign risk scores for the offenders, those who believed they were working for the prosecution tended to give higher scores and those who believed they were working for the defense tended to give lower scores.
“This evidence of allegiance was particularly striking because our experimental manipulation was less powerful than the forces experts are likely to encounter in most real cases,” researchers wrote.
Read the abstract or purchase the study HERE.