Amber Heard’s emotional testimony not signal of lying, say experts
The way Amber Heard behaved on the witness stand should not necessarily be taken as evidence that she was lying, experts have told Insider.
A Depp v Heard jury member last week told Good Morning America that the Aquaman star “didn’t come across as believable” in court, explaining: “It seemed like she was able to flip the switch on her emotions. She would answer one question and she would be crying and two seconds later she would turn ice cold. It didn’t seem natural.”
However, Dr Kate Porterfield of Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma says such sudden emotional shifts can occur when survivors talk about traumatic experiences, as they first become agitated then seek to calm themselves down.
“Thus, the person can then appear flat, detached, and disconnected,” Porterfield said. “All of this is difficult for juries to understand because it seems counterintuitive that a person could look flat or maybe even bored.”
Dr Jim Hopper of Harvard Medical School said that it was “only human” for jurors to be swayed by witness’ outward emotions, but added: “The question is what knowledge base do you have? […] If they were someone who was traumatized, then are you capable of empathizing with someone who might express that trauma in a variety of different ways?“