The effects of evidence-based expert testimony on perceptions of child sexual abuse involving recantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Child sexual abuse (CSA) cases involving recantation invoke concerns about children's reliability. Expert testimony can help explain the complexities of these cases. Experts have historically relied on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (CSAAS), yet this is not science-based. In a CSA case involving recantation, how would evidence-based testimony affect perceptions of child credibility when compared to CSAAS? Across 2 studies, we test the effects of expert testimony based on evidence-based science, nonscientific evidence, and experience-based evidence on outcomes in CSA cases involving recantation. Evidence- based testimony led to higher perceptions of credibility and scientific rigor of the evidence when compared to CSAAS testimony. Evidence-based testimony also led to more guilty verdicts when compared to the control. In sum, jurors had some ability to detect evidence strength, such that evidence-based expert testimony was superior to CSAAS testimony in many respects, and consistently superior to experience-based testimony in these cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0254961
JournalPloS one
Volume16
Issue number8 August
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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