{
"title": "Expert Witness Testimony in the Battered Woman Syndrome",
"authors": "Ana Pauna",
"country": null,
"institution": null,
"volume": "66",
"journal": "International Journal of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences",
"pagesStart": 1095,
"pagesEnd": 1102,
"ISSN": "1307-6892",
"URL": "http:\/\/waset.org\/publications\/3305",
"abstract": "The Expert Witness Testimony in the Battered\r\nWoman Syndrome Expert witness testimony (EWT) is a kind of\r\ninformation given by an expert specialized in the field (here in BWS)\r\nto the jury in order to help the court better understand the case. EWT\r\ndoes not always work in favor of the battered women. Two main\r\ndecision-making models are discussed in the paper: the Mathematical\r\nmodel and the Explanation model. In the first model, the jurors\r\ncalculate \u2033the importance and strength of each piece of evidence\u2033\r\nwhereas in the second model they try to integrate the EWT with the\r\nevidence and create a coherent story that would describe the crime.\r\nThe jury often misunderstands and misjudges battered women for\r\ntheir action (or in this case inaction). They assume that these women\r\nare masochists and accept being mistreated for if a man abuses a\r\nwoman constantly, she should and could divorce him or simply leave\r\nat any time. The research in the domain found that indeed, expert\r\nwitness testimony has a powerful influence on juror\u2019s decisions thus\r\nits quality needs to be further explored. One of the important factors\r\nthat need further studies is a bias called the dispositionist worldview\r\n(a belief that what happens to people is of their own doing). This\r\nkind of attributional bias represents a tendency to think that a\r\nperson\u2019s behavior is due to his or her disposition, even when the\r\nbehavior is clearly attributed to the situation. Hypothesis The\r\nhypothesis of this paper is that if a juror has a dispositionist\r\nworldview then he or she will blame the rape victim for triggering the\r\nassault. The juror would therefore commit the fundamental\r\nattribution error and believe that the victim\u2019s disposition caused the\r\nrape and not the situation she was in. Methods The subjects in the\r\nstudy were 500 randomly sampled undergraduate students from\r\nMcGill, Concordia, Universit\u00e9 de Montr\u00e9al and UQAM.\r\nDispositional Worldview was scored on the Dispositionist\r\nWorldview Questionnaire. After reading the Rape Scenarios, each\r\nstudent was asked to play the role of a juror and answer a\r\nquestionnaire consisting of 7 questions about the responsibility,\r\ncausality and fault of the victim. Results The results confirm the\r\nhypothesis which states that if a juror has a dispositionist worldview\r\nthen he or she will blame the rape victim for triggering the assault.\r\nBy doing so, the juror commits the fundamental attribution error\r\nbecause he will believe that the victim\u2019s disposition, and not the\r\nconstraints or opportunities of the situation, caused the rape scenario.",
"references": null,
"publisher": "World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology",
"index": "International Science Index 66, 2012"
}