Matching Items (9)

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Death Penalty Beliefs: How Attitudes are Shaped and Revised

Description

Although most Americans support capital punishment, many people have misconceptions about its efficacy and administration (e.g., that capital punishment deters crime). Can correcting people’s inaccurate attitudes change their support for

Although most Americans support capital punishment, many people have misconceptions about its efficacy and administration (e.g., that capital punishment deters crime). Can correcting people’s inaccurate attitudes change their support for the death penalty? If not, are there other strategies that might shift people’s attitudes about the death penalty? Some research suggests that statistical information can correct misconceptions about polarizing topics. Yet, statistics might be irrelevant if people support capital punishment for purely retributive reasons, suggesting other argumentative strategies may be more effective. In Study 1, I compared how two different interventions shifted attitudes towards the death penalty. In Studies 2 - 4 I examined what other attitudes shape endorsement of capital punishment, and used these findings to develop and test an educational intervention aimed at providing information about errors in the implementation of the death penalty. Altogether, these findings suggest that attitudes about capital punishment are based on more than just retributive motives, and that correcting misconceptions related to its administration and other relevant factors reduces support for the death penalty.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Differential perceptions of LGBT individuals: the intersectionality of sexual orientation and gender

Description

Current research on anti-gay attitudes has focused heavily on heterosexuals versus

non-heterosexuals, with very little research delving into the differences within these “non-heterosexual” groups. The author conducted an exploratory analysis of

Current research on anti-gay attitudes has focused heavily on heterosexuals versus

non-heterosexuals, with very little research delving into the differences within these “non-heterosexual” groups. The author conducted an exploratory analysis of how the intersectional effect of gender and sexual orientation affect perceptions of target groups’ gender and sexuality, which in turn might explain different levels of prejudice toward LGBT subgroups. Based on previous studies, the author hypothesized that participants would believe that a gay male has a more fixed sexuality than a lesbian, leading in turn to higher levels of moral outrage. This study further aims to extend the literature to perceptions of bisexual and transgender individuals by testing competing hypotheses. Participants might feel less moral outrage toward these groups than other LGBT subgroups because they believe their sexuality is even less fixed than lesbians’. Alternatively, participants might feel more moral outrage toward bisexual and transgender targets (versus other LGBT groups) because of the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty about these groups’ sexuality and/or gender. Overall, participants demonstrated an interactive effect of gender and sexuality on factors including perceived sexual orientation, perceived biological sex, perceived gender identity, perceived sexual fixedness, and moral outrage rather than gender having a main effect on perceptions of gender and sexual orientation having a main effect on perceptions of sexuality. Furthermore, perceptions of sexual fixedness mediated the effect of gender on moral outrage for heterosexual target groups, but not gay targets. Gender certainty mediated the effect of gender on moral outrage for pre-op transgender target groups, but not heterosexuals. This work is important to inform future research on the topics of the intersection of sexuality and gender, especially to extend the limited literature on perceptions of bisexual and transgender individuals.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The Impact of Victim Photographs On Mock Jurors’ Emotions and Verdicts

Description

Several states within the United States have recently passed the Victim Life Photo Act, which allows prosecutors to present photographs of alleged murder victims when they were alive during the

Several states within the United States have recently passed the Victim Life Photo Act, which allows prosecutors to present photographs of alleged murder victims when they were alive during the guilt phase of a trial. Critics argue that these photographs do not offer any relevant information about the crime or the defendant’s potential guilt and might bias jurors to vote guilty based on their sympathy for the victim—perhaps disproportionally so for high-status victims. Two mock trial experiments tested whether online participants who viewed alleged murder victim photographs would convict more because they increase anger, disgust, fear, sadness, and/or sympathy. Mock jurors who saw photographs of White (but not racial minority) victims while they were alive reported more sympathy for the victim relative to those who saw the same evidence without a photograph of the living victim—but the sympathy did not increase convictions (Study 1). Study 2 extended this study by testing whether the living victim photographs are more impactful in conjunction with seeing gruesome photographs of the victim after her death, creating a particularly disturbing contrast effect versus seeing the living photograph alone. Study 2 found that (a) living victim photographs on their own again had no effect on participants’ verdicts, (b) gruesome photographs on their own increased convictions through increased disgust, and (c) participants who saw both living and gruesome murder victim photographs (versus gruesome alone) were more conviction prone due to increased anger and sympathy. These studies inform current debates regarding the controversial Victim Life Photo Act: Admitting living victim photographs during the guilt phase—if presented along with gruesome photographs—can make jurors more sympathetic and angry, which can increase convictions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Discerning Evidence in Civil Sexual Assault Cases

Description

Biases have been studied in many legal contexts, including sexual assault cases. Sexual assault cases are complex because there are many stages that biases can come into play and have

Biases have been studied in many legal contexts, including sexual assault cases. Sexual assault cases are complex because there are many stages that biases can come into play and have lasting effects on the rest of the case proceedings. One aspect that has not been widely explored is how people perceive institutions’ liability in sexual assault cases based on an obligation to create non-discriminating environments for members and employees according to laws like Title VII and Title IX. The current project focused on how and why cognitive biases affect laypeople’s judgment. Specifically, laypeople’s ability to discern the strength of evidence in civil sexual assault cases against institutions. This was addressed in a series of two studies, with samples collected from Prolific Academic (n = 90) and Arizona State University students (n = 188) for Study 1 (N = 278), and Prolific Academic in Study 2 (N = 449). Both studies used Latin-square design methods, with within and between subject elements, looking at how confirmation bias influenced decisions about whether an institution demonstrated negligence, and thus liability, in the way they responded to sexual assault allegations within their institution. Results from these studies suggest that jurors are overall accurately able to differentiate between weak and strong cases. However, consistent with previous literature, jurors may be susceptible to confirmation bias from outside information (e.g., news stories) and negatively influenced by their personal attitudes (e.g., rape myth acceptance). Given the increased attention of the Me Too movement, these results provide an initial insight into how individuals may be judging these types of cases against institutions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The Effects of Differential Exposure to Gruesome Photographs on Mock Jurors' Emotions & Legal Judgments

Description

In a trial, jurors are asked to set aside their emotions and make judgments based solely on evidence. Research suggests jurors are not always capable of this, particularly when exposed

In a trial, jurors are asked to set aside their emotions and make judgments based solely on evidence. Research suggests jurors are not always capable of this, particularly when exposed to gruesome photographic evidence. However, previous research has not looked at the potentially moderating effect of when and for how long jurors are exposed to emotionally disturbing photographs, nor how many photographs they see. In two experiments I tested the impact of the timing of and extent of exposure to gruesome photographs on jurors’ emotions, verdicts, and punishment recommendations. In Study 1, I investigated the effect of timing and exposure duration to a single gruesome photograph of a victim in a murder case (no exposure, brief early exposure, brief late exposure, and prolonged exposure) on mock jurors’ emotions and case judgments. Prolonged exposure (relative to no or brief exposure, regardless of timing) increased disgust, which in turn was associated with harsher punishment. Contrary to previous research, the photograph manipulation did not influence verdicts. The results were mixed and inconclusive regarding brief early versus late exposure. In Study 2, I compared repeatedly viewing a single gruesome photograph to viewing a set of four similar, but unique gruesome photographs—holding the exposure time constant—to assess the impact of quantity of photos on jurors’ emotions and case judgments. Viewing multiple gruesome photos (relative to no photos) led to increase in guilty verdicts through increased disgust, replicating previous research. Viewing a single gruesome photo (relative to no photo) led to increase in guilty verdicts through disgust, differing from Study 1 findings. Viewing multiple gruesome photos and a single gruesome photo led to more disgust, compared to viewing no photo. However, differing from Study 1, gruesome photographs did not lead to an increase in punishment recommendations. There were no significant differences between exposure to a single or multiple gruesome photos on disgust, verdicts, or punishments. Overall, greater exposure to gruesome evidence led to increased disgust and punitiveness, relative to those with less exposure. However, jurors with greater exposure to the same or different photographs did not differ in reported emotions, verdicts, or punitiveness.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Perceptions of officers who use force in police-civilian interactions

Description

Police officers in America interact with civilians on a daily basis as function of their job, and the way people perceive police officers can either help or hurt officers in

Police officers in America interact with civilians on a daily basis as function of their job, and the way people perceive police officers can either help or hurt officers in performance of their duties. I conducted an experiment to test whether people perceive a police officer’s use of force differently depending on the officer’s race and gender. First, when an officer uses force, I propose competing hypotheses that a female officer will be viewed as less favorable than a male officer; however, because female aggression is less expected, I also predict that they will be viewed as more favorable than male officers. Second, when an officer uses force, I predict that a Black officer will be viewed as more aggressive than a White Officer. Lastly, I predict that perceptions of the officer (i.e., perceived aggression and emotional reactivity) would mediate the relationship between officer gender and attitudes towards the officer. Using an experimental survey design with a video of a police-civilian interaction, I found support that female officers were viewed more favorably than male officers when force was used. I found no support that Black officers would be viewed as more aggressive than White officers. Lastly, I found partial support that perceptions of the officer mediated the relationship between officer gender and attitudes towards the officer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The effects of facility animals in the courtroom on juror decision-making

Description

Courthouse dogs (sometimes referred to as facility animals) are expertly trained canines which may be used to assist individuals with psychological, emotional, or physical difficulties in a myriad of courtroom

Courthouse dogs (sometimes referred to as facility animals) are expertly trained canines which may be used to assist individuals with psychological, emotional, or physical difficulties in a myriad of courtroom situations. While these animals are increasingly used to assist young witness to court, the jury is still out on whether or not they are prejudicial to the defendant. No known research exists in this area, although research is necessary to determine the possibly prejudicial nature of these animals. Using a mock trial paradigm involving a child sexual abuse case, the current study employed a 2 (Witness type: victim vs. bystander) x 3 (Innovation type: courthouse dog vs. teddy bear vs. none) fully-crossed factorial design. It was hypothesized that witness type and innovation type would interact to differentially impact jurors' judgments about the trial, defendant, and child witness. In addition, it was posited that emotions, such as anger and disgust, would also affect judgments and decision-making. Results indicate that courthouse dogs and comfort toys did impact jurors' decision making in some ways. In addition, emotions and witness credibility predicted sentencing, verdict, and other trial judgments.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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When hurt heroes do harm: collective guilt and leniency toward war-veteran transgressors

Description

Protectors who do harm are often punished more severely because their crime is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Two experiments test whether this will generalize to protectors who incur

Protectors who do harm are often punished more severely because their crime is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Two experiments test whether this will generalize to protectors who incur harm while serving in their protective role, and if not, whether collective guilt for the harm they suffered provides an explanation. Study 1 tested competing hypotheses that a veteran (versus civilian) with PTSD would be punished either more harshly because of the trust betrayal, or more leniently because of increased guilt about the harm the veteran suffered during war. Men and women were both more lenient toward a veteran (versus civilian) but this effect was mediated by collective guilt only among men. In Study 2, guilt inductions increased leniency among participants less likely to classify the veteran as an in-group member (women, low national identifiers), but not in those who are more likely to classify the veteran as an in-group member (men, high national identifiers), who were lenient without any guilt inductions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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The Impact of Gruesome Photographs on Forensic Judgments of Competency and Legal Insanity

Description

The legal system relies heavily on the contribution of forensic psychologists. These psychologists give opinions on a defendant’s ability to stand trial, their legal sanity at the time of the

The legal system relies heavily on the contribution of forensic psychologists. These psychologists give opinions on a defendant’s ability to stand trial, their legal sanity at the time of the crime, their future dangerousness, and their competency to be executed. However, we know little about what extrinsic factors bias these experts. I assessed the influence of gruesome photographs on forensic psychologists’ evaluations of competency and legal sanity. Previous research has demonstrated that these photographs influence lay judgments of guilt. I predicted that gruesome color photographs (versus the same photographs in black-and-white or a textual description of the photographs) would influence forensic psychologists to judge the defendant competent and sane (decisions that might ultimately lead to punishment). I also predicted that this effect would be greater for sanity judgments than for competency judgments. I asked laypeople to make the same decisions in order to compare expert and lay judgments. I predicted that impact of photograph type seen in experts would be greater in the lay sample. No differences in judgments of competence, sanity, or mental illness emerged as a function of the type of visual information, for either expert or lay participants. Experts relied on competency evidence to make competency judgments and insanity evidence to make insanity judgments. In contrast, lay people relied on various types of evidence to make their ultimate judgments. This research suggests that people making competency and sanity judgments might not be biased by gruesome photographs.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018