In a study of 117 undergraduate students, psychologists discovered that movements in a sequence of events, as well as the duration portrayed, in animations such as re-creations of a crime can double an already troubling hindsight bias.
Hindsight bias has been linked to the traditional use of text and diagrams to re-create crimes, and is known to interfere with the ability to make fair decisions because it often leads jurists to exaggerate the predictability of past events.
"Many lawyers assume that computer video animations help clarify the evidence, and, therefore, help jury decisions to be fairer and more closely grounded in the facts," said Neal J. Roese, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Our findings indicate instead that a computer animation introduces its own additional bias, making people more punitive and more likely to hand out harsh penalties."
Roese and colleagues suggest that by viewing a computer-animated re-creation of an event, a person's confidence is heightened -- but not necessarily accurately. An animation, they say, provides movement as reconstructed by a prosecution, plaintiff or defense witness to reconfirm or heighten a jurist's hindsight feeling that "I knew it all along."
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