Do we believe in experts? The power of any view
Paul Christiansen, Sara Waring, Louise Almond, Joanna Lorek

This paper examines whether source credibility (whether advice is from an expert or novice source) influences judgments, and moderates the impact of orthodoxy (degree of typicality) on belief change (extent to which decision makers alter judgments). 109 members of the public completed a questionnaire involving an investigation into a series of child sex offenses. Participants were asked to read a description of offenses and then to i) numerically estimate the guilt of two suspect descriptions (orthodox vs. unorthodox), and following the presentation of an offender profile (matching either the orthodox / unorthodox suspect and provided by either an expert / novice source), to ii) reevaluate their guilt judgments for both suspects. Results revealed two key findings. First, in support of previous research, offender profiles were found to significantly alter judgments of suspect guilt in line with the content of the profile description. Second, source credibility had no significant impact on belief change and did not moderate the impact of profile orthodoxy on belief change. Thus, decision makers were equally willing to alter their judgments regardless of whether the information was from an expert or novice source and contained orthodox or unorthodox information. The implications of these findings for police and jurors are discussed.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jpbs.v3n2a3