Crime dramas have become a popular part of media culture, but research examining their influence on juror decision-making is in its infancy. This research examined the influences of crime drama viewing frequency, individuals’ degree of engagement (engaged or non-engaged) with a crime drama, and type of evidence (forensic, eyewitness, or both) on mock jurors’ verdicts. Results indicated that, among engaged participants who were presented with forensic or eyewitness only evidence, frequent crime drama viewers offered more confident not guilty verdicts compared to infrequent viewers. However, this evidentiary skepticism between frequent and infrequent viewers vanished when participants engaged with the show and were presented with both types of evidence. Among participants not induced to engage with the crime drama, these patterns were very different—non-engaged participants who were presented with eyewitness only or both types of evidence offered more confident not guilty verdicts the more frequently they watched crime dramas. Yet, non-engaged viewers presented with forensic only evidence rendered similar levels of guilt verdicts regardless of their crime drama viewing frequency. Implications for juror decision-making research and applied implications for the legal system are discussed.
- Evidentiary threshold
- Viewer engagement