Bias in Interpretation of Video Evidence

Consistently, video documentation has been touted as one solution to legal bias, and cell phone, body camera, and surveillance footage are being used more than ever in court. While video does often offer crucial evidence and can help bring injustice to light, there are also unique ways in which video can exaggerate bias, a fact many legal actors know how to leverage. Camera angle (including body cam v. dash cam), play-back speed, and color vs. black-and-white footage are all features of video that have been shown to systematically influence people's legal judgments. Further, individual differences among perceivers can promote selective attention to some pieces of information at the expense of others. On May 18, 2023, Dr. Yael Granot of Smith College joined us to present information on how characteristics of the footage and the perceiver may influence how video evidence is watched and interpreted, and discuss implications for evidence gathering and presentation.