Defendant stereotypicality: The effect of socioeconomic status on jury decision making

Beer, Hannah (2013). Defendant stereotypicality: The effect of socioeconomic status on jury decision making Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Beer, Hannah
Thesis Title Defendant stereotypicality: The effect of socioeconomic status on jury decision making
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Blake McKimmie
Total pages 106
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Ideally jurors should only consider admissible evidence. However, when defendant characteristics such as socioeconomic status (SES) match crime specific stereotypes they can influence jurors’ decisions. Recently the cognitive optimiser model has been proposed to explain how this stereotype congruence influences jurors’ attention and decisions. This study tested this model by investigating how defendant SES influenced mock jurors’ attention to different aspects of a trial. Participants (N=160) read a summary of a fictional court case in which defendant SES(low or high), crime type (armed robbery or fraud), and evidence strength (strong or weak) were manipulated. It was predicted that participants would pay less attention to stereotype congruent defendants as they could use stereotypes, allowing more attention to be directed to case-relevant details. The opposite pattern was predicted for incongruent defendants. Participants were expected to pay more attention to the defendant at the expense of attention to case details. It was also predicted that the defendant’s match to stereotypes would moderate participants’ sensitivity to the strength of the evidence. Overall results did not support the hypotheses. As defendants were not perceived as strongly typical or atypical a clear test of the cognitive optimiser model was prevented, and conclusions about support for the model are limited. Results did, however, shed light on the nature of defendant stereotypicality, indicating that perceivers do not always categorise defendants as stereotypical or counter-stereotypical. The implications of results for future research are discussed.
Keyword socioeconomic status
Jury decision making

 
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2014, 14:59:09 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology