Visual decision aids: Improving laypeople’s understanding of forensic science evidence

Article


Ribeiro, Gianni, Likwornik, Helena and Chin, Jason M.. 2023. "Visual decision aids: Improving laypeople’s understanding of forensic science evidence ." Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. 12 (2), pp. 230-240. https://doi.org/10.1037/mac0000026
Article Title

Visual decision aids: Improving laypeople’s understanding of forensic science evidence

ERA Journal ID200902
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsRibeiro, Gianni, Likwornik, Helena and Chin, Jason M.
Journal TitleJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Journal Citation12 (2), pp. 230-240
Number of Pages11
Year2023
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN2211-3681
2211-369X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/mac0000026
Web Address (URL)https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2022-73876-001.html
Abstract

Forensic science plays an important role in the criminal justice system; however, research and miscarriages of justice have demonstrated that laypeople can easily misunderstand the results of forensic tests. Given the importance of these test results, interdisciplinary oversight groups have called for a clearer expression of forensic tests’ corresponding error rates. Meanwhile, a large body of research in the medical domain suggests that visual decision aids can improve understanding of statistical information. Seeking to apply decision aids to the forensic domain, we present three preregistered experiments (N = 879) demonstrating that visual decision aids may indeed improve understanding of forensic science evidence. A mini meta-analysis across the three experiments comparing control conditions to visual aids demonstrated a medium effect size of g = 0.35. Therefore, decision aids represent a promising, easy-to-implement way to improve laypeople’s understanding of forensic science evidence, thereby potentially preventing associated miscarriages of justice.

Keywordsforensic science; forensic evidence; decision aids ; error rates; communicating science
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520402. Decision making
480503. Criminal procedure
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
University of Toronto, Canada
Court of Appeal, Canada
University of Sydney
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