A little birdie told me: People will consider ambiguous utterances from parrots when making judgements of guilt.
Lawrie, C. D. (2020). A little birdie told me: People will consider ambiguous utterances from parrots when making judgements of guilt. (Thesis, Master of Science (Research) (MSc(Research))). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13878
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13878
How much would you trust a parrot as an eyewitness? The question is not hypothetical: lawyers have tried to use “testimony” from animals. We asked two questions: First, had a court allowed a parrot’s utterance to be entered as evidence how credible would people believe the parrot is? And second, when parrots give evidence that is ambiguous, what does that evidence do to people’s judgements of guilt? To answer these questions we ran three experiments. Subjects were presented with a vignette describing a husband returning home to find his wife murdered and were informed that either a parrot or a three-year-old child was repeating an ambiguous utterance following the murder. We found that people rate a parrot as less credible than a three-year-old child but do not dismiss the parrot entirely. We also found that people can be persuaded by a parrot’s ambiguous utterance when making a judgement of guilt. These results suggest that people will consider ambiguous utterances made by less than credible sources when making judgements of guilt.
The University of Waikato
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