Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computer animations used in court colored by bias, researchers say

12.04.2006


A courtroom jury views a computer animation of a vehicle accident or heinous crime. Does it help bring a conviction or acquittal? With no clear standards for animations that re-create incidents, the verdict is still out, and, for now, it may depend on which side created the simulation, researchers say.



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."

In the study, published in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science, some students viewed computer animations of highway incidents prepared for real court cases by Eleventh Hour Animation of Skokie, Ill. The idea was to compare judgments made in foresight, where an outcome is not known, with hindsight, where the outcome is known. A control group viewed text-plus-diagram re-creations.

One animation, 19 seconds long, showed a car following an 18-wheeler on a two-lane highway. The car attempted to pass but collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. An 11-second depiction showed a semi-trailer avoiding a slow-moving vehicle that was turning into its path on a two-lane highway; the truck collided with a bus coming from the opposite direction. Both films showed the events from bird’s-eye views.

Participants were told in advance that they would see cases in which accidents may have occurred. Some participants viewed the entire re-creations with the accidents shown, whereas others saw depictions that were stopped before the accidents occurred.

Participants seeing the outcome then were told to disregard their knowledge of it and put themselves in the shoes of those who had watched clips that did not show results. All participants estimated the likelihoods of the various outcomes, from no accident at all to the serious accidents that, in fact, did occur. The hindsight, widely observed in past research, was found again.

"Participants who see how an accident happens have a very difficult time disregarding this knowledge and cannot place themselves in the shoes of naïve observers who did not see the accident," Roese said. "This hindsight bias occurred regardless of whether participants watched the scenes in computer animations, or if they read text descriptions of the events."

The findings suggest that when it comes to issues of liability or negligence, judgments that hinge on assessing what defendants know at the time of their actions, rather than what came later, the use of computer animations might be an especially big problem.

"Some courts rule them as inadmissible, many do not," Roese said. "Supposedly an animation is based directly on the available evidence and the laws of physics, and when animations are allowed, it is under the assumption that the video accurately illustrates the event. But the truth is that all reconstructions of evidence contain inherent imprecision."

Animated reconstructions, the authors argue, illustrate far more information about an accident for after-accident observers to consider than the involved drivers ever had when their situation was still unfolding.

Co-authors with Roese were psychology doctoral students Florian Fessel and Amy Summerville; Justin Kruger, a former U. of I. psychology professor now with the Leonard Stern School of Management at New York University; and Michael Dilich of FORESIGHT Reconstruction Inc., a research and consulting firm in Northbrook, Ill., which specializes in vehicle-accident investigation, reconstruction, analysis and safety research.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>