Character Proof and the fireside induction

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Abstract

The present research examined psycholegal assumptions about specific acts evidence as a method of character proof. On the basis of "fireside induction" (Meehl, 1971) and social psychological research on inferential processes, it was expected that the logic behind the presumption against specific acts testimony would receive empirical support. In the context of a videotaped automobile negligence trial, nondeliberating experimental jurors were presented with character evidence expressed either in terms of specific acts or in terms of general reputation. Mode of presentation and the amount of testimony also were varied. Only post hoc support for the logic behind the presumption against specific acts testimony was obtained, and several factors that may have constrained its impact were considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1979

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