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Technology On Trial: Facilitative And Prejudicial Effects Of Computer-Generated Animations On Jurors' Legal Judgments

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posted on 22.05.2021, 17:28 authored by Emma Rempel
The recent emergence of electronic courtrooms (i.e., courtrooms that are equipped with advanced digital technologies) has generated novel ways to present evidence to jurors. Computer-generated animations, which recreate or illustrate the alleged sequence of events in a crime, are increasingly being used by lawyers to present testimonial evidence to jurors. The current study used a 3 (modality: oral vs. static visual vs. animation) x 2 (congruence: incongruent vs. congruent) between-subjects design to investigate whether presentation modality and evidence congruence affect jurors’ ability to properly evaluate evidence and render ‘accurate’ verdicts. In a laboratory setting, mock jurors (N = 238) read a transcript from a fictitious second-degree murder trial. Participants read testimony from eight witnesses, and heard the oral testimony of the defendant with a static visual aid, a computer-generated animation, or no visual aid. Results demonstrated that mock jurors were more likely to acquit the defendant when his testimony was illustrated with a computer-generated animation compared to a static visual aid or with no additional aid. Research in this area can inform the development of evidentiary regulations which adequately govern the admissibility of computer-generated animations in the courtroom, so as ensure that they are used in a way that maintains a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Keywords: computer-generated evidence, computer animations, legal decision-making, information processing, electronic courtrooms





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Tara Burke