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 importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>