What do we really know about witness preparation?

Judith McFarlane, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, Kathy Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Witnesses often meet with an attorney or witness preparation specialist before trial to review, discuss, and sometimes modify the substance and delivery of their anticipated testimony. This process is commonly referred to as witness preparation. During witness preparation, witnesses are taught to use effective testimony delivery skills (e.g., verbal and nonverbal communication skills) so that they will be perceived as being credible and persuasive in the courtroom. Although social scientists know much about communication skills, credibility, and persuasion, few published studies have attempted to determine whether or not these factors can be modified through witness preparation training. The present article reviews the psychological literature pertaining to witness preparation and makes recommendations for needed witness preparation research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-189
Number of pages29
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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