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What You Say Matters: The Influence Of Alibi Content On Memory And Forensically Relevant Judgments

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posted on 2021-05-24, 13:12 authored by Sara Cowan
Discussion of alibi believability has typically focused on the influence of the strength of the corroborating evidence. Little is known about the influence of the content of alibi narratives on legal judgments. The current studies explored the role of moral desirability of alibi activities on judgments about an alibi, the strength of the evidence against a suspect, and the probability of the suspect’s guilt as well as on recall performance. The role of Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and the alibi context were also evaluated. Alibi content did not affect judgments about alibis or evidence, but did influence perceptions of probability of suspect guilt. Morally undesirable and desirable alibis were both more memorable than neutral alibis. RWA was related to participants’ decisions regarding the alibi, the physical evidence, and the suspect’s likelihood of guilt. Finally, statements described as alibis were viewed with greater skepticism than statements described as narratives.





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Tara Burke

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