Maturity in the Courtroom: Hit or Miss?

As a litigator or prosecutor, certainly having an older, wiser witness comes with obvious perks.  A jury might believe that the older gentleman more so than a younger witness who is more frantic in his prattling.  Of course, jurors most likely have a “sweet spot” for age, as an older witness can also be cross-examined about senility and other shortcomings of recollection.  Well, add this to the Cross-Examiner’s tool-kit:

A new article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States America lays out that as we age, our genetic predisposition towards distrust diminishes.  In fact, “[O]lder adults are disproportionately vulnerable to fraud, and federal agencies have speculated that excessive trust explains their greater vulnerability.”  While it would seem philosophically logical to think that someone wise in their years could accurately assess a situation, apparently studies yielded in the article showed that younger people are safer in varied social situations because of their skepticism.  Not only might this study, if accurate, yield a better impression on why people keep falling for those Nigerian Prince e-mails, but it might also facilitate a better understanding of what older jurors are going through in their mind during testimony (at least at the scientific level!)

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