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Believe me, believe me not : investigating the possibility of a dual standard in the evaluation of alibi and eyewitness evidence

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posted on 2021-05-24, 15:16 authored by Sami El-Sibaey
The present study investigates the hypothesis that alibi evidence is interpreted as an excuse and so perceived and reacted to negatively. Participants read case summaries that included incriminating eyewitness and exculpatory alibi evidence, the latter labelled as an 'alibi', 'excuse' or 'statement', completed questionnaires evaluating their perceptions or the honesty and credibility of witnesses, and provided a ruling for the case (guilty/not guilty). The alibi evidence was provided before or after the eyewitness evidence. It was expected that ratings for the 'alibi' or 'excuse' would be lower than those for the 'statement'. Though there were no significant evaluations of alibi honesty/credibility and accuracy are not utilized in the formation of a verdict. The results are discussed in the context of using the 'excuse hypothesis' as an explanation for the underutilization of alibi evidence.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Tara Burke