Date of Award

Spring 6-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Mental Health Counseling

Language

English

First Advisor

Margaret Kovera

Second Reader

Charles Stone

Third Advisor

Jessica Karanian

Abstract

Jurors are typically not able to disregard inadmissible evidence when asked to do so by judges. Yet, there is no research using the think/no-think paradigm on juror memory, which could be beneficial for trials in which inadmissible evidence is an issue. This study uses witness photos and statements to see if the material can be intentionally remembered and intentionally forgotten through a think/no-think task in which participants are cued to think about some witness photo/statement combinations and not think about other photo/statement combinations. Participants were responsible for learning pairs of faces and statements of witnesses from an alleged stabbing. After learning each pair, participants were told that some witness statements were deemed inadmissible. After this instruction, a think/no-think task followed in which only the faces of certain witnesses were shown, and the participants were either instructed to remember (think condition) the statement associated with the photo (target) or to suppress it (no- think condition). A third group of pairs functioned as a baseline/control comparison and did not appear in the think/no-think task. In the final phase the participants were shown the faces again and asked to determine the associated statement with that face. We hypothesized that subjects would have a higher recall of the think condition statements and a lower recall of the no-think condition statements compared to the baseline/control condition. A second hypothesis anticipated that participants would be able to label the witnesses they were told to forget as less reliable while labeling the witnesses they were supposed to remember as more reliable. No significant results were found on recall and condition type, but an effect was found in the reliability ratings of the photos.

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