Examination of the "CSI Effect" on Perceptions of Scientific and Testimonial Evidence in a Hong Kong Chinese Sample.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-833
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume61
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Abstract

Television is a powerful medium through which to convey information and messages to the public. The recent proliferation of forensic science and criminal justice information throughout all forms of media, coupled with raised expectations toward forensic evidence, has led some to suspect that a “CSI effect” (Crime Scene Investigation effect) is taking place. The present study contributes to the literature addressing the CSI effect in two ways. First, it examines whether the CSI effect exists in the Chinese population of Hong Kong. Second, using a mock-jury paradigm, it empirically examines a more integrative perspective of the CSI effect. It was found that, although the amount of media coverage involving forensic evidence does influence participants’ perception of legal evidence to some degree, such a perception does not affect participants’ legal decision making. Viewers of forensic dramas were not more likely to convict the defendant when forensic evidence was presented and not less likely to convict when only testimonial evidence was presented. The only significant predictor of the defendant’s culpability when scientific evidence was presented was participants’ ratings of the reliability of scientific evidence. Results from the present study lend no support to the existence of the CSI effect in Hong Kong.

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