Presentation (Project) Title

Battery or Bigotry: The Impact of Defendants’ Race on Mock-jurors’ Decision

Mentor Information

Christine Ruva (Department of Psychology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

In a time of heightened tension in the United States, we explored how defendant race (White vs. Black/African American) impacts verdicts, culpability ratings, and credibility ratings in an aggravated battery trial. The Aversive Racism Theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1992) proposes that people hold implicit biases, which have discriminatory effects, against persons of different races. Based on this theory, Ingriselli (2014) suggested that White jurors will make less racially biased verdicts when race is salient because jurors will attempt to appear impartial by suppressing negative attitudes regarding race. Therefore, we manipulated defendant race by inserting a single photo (three different photos used for each race) within trial transcripts containing many photos (i.e., attorneys, judge, and victim’s injuries). A Qualtrics survey was used to collect data and randomly assign participants (N = 200; women = 72.5%; age ranged 18 to 42, M = 20.11, SD = 3.06; race/ethnicity – 44% White, 10.5% Black, 31.5% Hispanic, and 12.5% other) to conditions. Hypotheses included that participants would be significantly more likely to find Black defendants guilty and rate these defendants higher in culpability and lower in credibility than White defendants, regardless of defendant photo (1-3). A race effect was found, but not as we expected; mock-jurors rated White defendants as higher on guilt and culpability and lower in credibility scales than Black defendants. Victims of White defendants were rated less culpable than victims of Black defendants. These findings contributed to our ultimate goal of assessing the efficacy of an implicit bias remedy in future research.

Streaming Media

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Battery or Bigotry: The Impact of Defendants’ Race on Mock-jurors’ Decision

In a time of heightened tension in the United States, we explored how defendant race (White vs. Black/African American) impacts verdicts, culpability ratings, and credibility ratings in an aggravated battery trial. The Aversive Racism Theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1992) proposes that people hold implicit biases, which have discriminatory effects, against persons of different races. Based on this theory, Ingriselli (2014) suggested that White jurors will make less racially biased verdicts when race is salient because jurors will attempt to appear impartial by suppressing negative attitudes regarding race. Therefore, we manipulated defendant race by inserting a single photo (three different photos used for each race) within trial transcripts containing many photos (i.e., attorneys, judge, and victim’s injuries). A Qualtrics survey was used to collect data and randomly assign participants (N = 200; women = 72.5%; age ranged 18 to 42, M = 20.11, SD = 3.06; race/ethnicity – 44% White, 10.5% Black, 31.5% Hispanic, and 12.5% other) to conditions. Hypotheses included that participants would be significantly more likely to find Black defendants guilty and rate these defendants higher in culpability and lower in credibility than White defendants, regardless of defendant photo (1-3). A race effect was found, but not as we expected; mock-jurors rated White defendants as higher on guilt and culpability and lower in credibility scales than Black defendants. Victims of White defendants were rated less culpable than victims of Black defendants. These findings contributed to our ultimate goal of assessing the efficacy of an implicit bias remedy in future research.