Judge's directions: Do they control for the expert gender stereotyping effect?

Mien Tinn Alexandria Lu (2011). Judge's directions: Do they control for the expert gender stereotyping effect? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mien Tinn Alexandria Lu
Thesis Title Judge's directions: Do they control for the expert gender stereotyping effect?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Blake McKimmie
Total pages 95
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary It is important that jurors arrive at their verdicts based solely on the evidence presented in court. Nevertheless, research has shown that the gender of an expert witness can trigger stereotypes that in turn influence perceptions of the expert's testimony. While the courts advocate cautioning jurors against gender bias, the theory of ironic process of mental control suggests that this may not be the best method to combat the effects of gender stereotyping. Based on this theory, the present study explored whether asking mock jurors to form a particular impression of an expert is more effective at reducing the impact of gender stereotypes than cautioning them not to be influenced by the experts‟ gender. Participants (N = 122) listened to a mock trial taking place in a female-oriented business domain. The gender of the plaintiff expert (male or female) and judge‟s directions (standard, suppress bias, form impression) were manipulated. It was predicted that mock jurors‟ evaluation of the expert and expert's testimony would be more positive when that expert‟s gender matched the domain of the case (H1). It was also expected that this effect would be stronger when participants were given a caution against relying on gender stereotypes, compared to standard directions (H2.1), and smallest when participants were asked to form an impression (H2.1). Results showed no support for the hypotheses. Unexpectedly, results showed an over-correction effect when participants were given directions to form an impression. Participants awarded more damage to the plaintiff and evaluated the plaintiff expert‟s testimony more positively when a male expert testified, compared to when a female expert testified. This suggests that asking jurors to create an impression of the expert does not control for the expert gender stereotyping effect. It also suggests that the theory of ironic process of mental control may not be the best way to frame the gender stereotyping effect in this context. Alternatively, future research can use the mental correction model to explore the correction of bias in juror decision-making.
Keyword Judge's directions
Gender stereotyping

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Created: Wed, 20 Jun 2012, 10:38:15 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology