Name:  Lauren Thompson

Area of Study:  Forensic

In what program are you currently enrolled?


What year of the program are you currently in?

1st Year

Citation in APA format

Thompson, L.E., Sheahan, C., Pica, E. & Pozzulo J. (in press). The influence of familiarity recency and eyewitness age on mock jurors’ judgement.  Journal of Police Criminal Psychology. Doi: 10.1007/s11896-018-9311-z

Plain language abstract:

This study examined the influence of familiarity recency (i.e., how long ago the eyewitness knew the defendant) and eyewitness age on mock jurors’ judgements. Mock jurors (N=326) read a trial transcript involving a positive identification from an eyewitness. The eyewitness stated that he was 25-, 50-, or 75-years-old and testified that he had previously been familiar (i.e., neighbours) with the defendant 1-, 5-, or 10-years ago. Jurors’ perceptions of the eyewitness and defendant were assessed on various dimensions. Jurors were asked to reach a dichotomous verdict and rate the degree to which they thought the defendant was guilty on a 100-point scale. Neither familiarity nor age influenced jurors’ judgments. However, jurors’ subjective ratings regarding the familiarity between the eyewitness and defendant were highly associated with jurors’ judgements. Specifically, higher familiarity ratings were associated with more guilty verdicts, higher guilt ratings, more positive perceptions of the eyewitness, and more negative perceptions of the defendant.

How did the idea for this research come about? 

Recently, our lab has become very interested in the idea of familiar eyewitnesses (i.e., eyewitnesses who are somewhat familiar with the perpetrator or suspect before the crime). Although familiar witnesses are actually quite common, little research has examined how familiarity between a witness and a suspect influences jurors’ decision making. Therefore, our lab has started to examine how familiarity (conceptualized in various ways) influences jurors’ perceptions of the eyewitness and legal judgements. In the current study we were specifically interested in the recency of the familiar relationship (i.e., how long ago did the relationship between the eyewitness and defendant exist). Further, we decided also to examine age in conjunction with familiarity to see whether age (young adult vs. middle-aged adult vs. elderly adult) would interact with familiarity to influence jurors’ decision making.

How did you collect the data for this project? 

Participants were recruited from the SONA pool of undergraduate psychology students. The data was collected through Qualtrics. Participants were given a Qualtrics link where they read a trial transcript and filled out a short questionnaire.

Was the journal you published in the first journal you submitted this paper to?


Why did you choose this journal?

This journal was chosen because I believed it fit well with the content of my paper. The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology presents numerous papers on juror decision making and specifically, has published the few papers that exist discussing juror decision making with familiar eyewitnesses.

How many other journals did you submit this paper to before it landed in the journal that eventually published your work?


What was your revision experience?

I received what I thought was quite a lot of revisions, so at first it was very overwhelming and a little disheartening. However, everything mentioned by my reviewers was fixable, so although it took some time, I was able to address all the revisions relatively easily.

How many rounds of revision did you experience?


Did you need to collect new data to satisfy a reviewer?

3 months

How long did it take from first submission to acceptance? 

10 months

Was this paper conducted as part of your MA thesis?


Was this paper conducted as part of your PhD dissertation?


Was this research conducted with your supervisor?


If yes, provide his or her name

Dr. Joanna Pozzulo

Was this research conducted with fellow graduate students in our program? 

Yes, it was conducted with a recent graduate, Chelsea Sheahan

Was this research conducted with researchers external to Carleton?


If yes, please provide names

Emily Pica (Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee)

For a copy of the pre-print, please click the PDF below:

Graduate Research Showcase – Lauren Thompson

To access the published version, please click the link below: