Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Christy Wolfe


With the increased use in expert witness testimony in civil trials, the decisions that jury members have made based on those testimonies have become very controversial. Previous research indicates that when a testimony is particularly complex, mock jurors will rely on cues outside the content of the testimony in order to determine the credibility of the witness. Research shows that there are different cues that are associated with higher credibility the expert. Common cues include the gender, occupation, and level of language complexity of the expert witness. This study used these three different cues as the independent variables, with two factors in each variable (female vs. male, complex language vs. simple, and nurse vs. surgeon). There were 80 undergraduate students who served as mock jurors that read through an expert witness testimony in a medical malpractice trial and determined the credibility of the testimony through two different measures. The results supported the hypothesis that females would be seen as more credible when they were using the gender matched simple language in the male dominated field. Other unexpected results were found, however, they support the overall notion that there are cues outside of the content of the testimony used to evaluate expert witness credibility.