Barbara Spellman

Credible Testimony In and Out of Court

CO-AUTHORS Elizabeth R. Tenney
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

UVA Law Faculty Affiliations

Barbara A. Spellman


Assessing informants' credibility is critical to several aspects of the legal process (e.g., when police interrogate suspects or jurors evaluate witnesses). There is a large body of research--from various areas of psychology and allied fields--about how people evaluate each others' credibility. We review the literature on lie detection and interpersonal perception to demonstrate that inferences regarding credibility may be multiply determined. Specifically, characteristics of the informant, of the listener, and of the situation affect people's perceptions of informants' credibility. We conclude with a discussion of research on calibration (i.e., an informant's confidence-accuracy relation) because it offers fruitful avenues for future credibility research in the legal domain.


Barbara A. Spellman & Elizabeth R. Tenney, Credible Testimony In and Out of Court, 17 Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 168-173 (2010).

More in This Category