3D Visualisations Help Jurors To Reach Consensus
Excerpt from interview with Craig Fries of Precision Simulations discussing how laser scan data and visualizations can help juries reach a consensus:
“I’m a big believer that today’s jurors are visual,” Fries said. “They need to see this, and they really do want to understand the evidence.” When presented orally or as static, two-dimensional measurements, diagrams and photos, evidence can quickly become confusing. “It would be asking a lot for the jury to juggle all that evidence and its locations without providing them the tools, like we do, to see how they relate to each other and what they do.”
The conventional method of presenting evidence can also quickly become boring. “Juries love seeing point clouds,” Fries said. “They are bored to tears with discussions of what happened and tests and things that they don’t get. It makes them sleepy. You show up with laser scanning and they go, ‘Wow, this is CSI. This is a little more interesting.’ They definitely pay attention.”
The synergy between psychology and laser scanning technology is perhaps best demonstrated in the imagery that Fries creates using scan data and visualization software.
When evidence is presented verbally, each juror forms a unique mental picture of what is being described. “Study after study has shown that if you do that,” Fries explains, “and then ask the jurors to basically draw what it is you just described, even if it is something as simple as a sunset, you get 12 different pictures.”
In contrast, presenting the evidence visually creates what Fries calls “a single visual image.” “Instead of 12 jurors forming a picture in their mind of what is being described—and having 12 different pictures because they’re all hearing it differently—if you show them an image of what happened,” Fries explains, “they are all looking at the exact same thing.” Creating a single visual image collapses all those subjective mental images down to one fact-based image, which eliminates confusion and builds consensus.