The amount of Psychological research about the impact of social stereotypes on juror’s decisions is increasing. Previous studies have looked at everything from the effect of differences in social categories (Deaux, K, 1984) to the gender of the perpetrator (e.g., Clark, H.L., & Nightingale, N.N., 1997; Mallozi, J., McDermott, V., & Kayson, W . A., 1990). The current study questions whether or not male defendants are always more likely to be found guilty compared to female defendants, or does the match with the crime type matter? Jurors are randomly selected citizens who are given the task of determining whether someone is guilty or not, based solely on the evidence provided by the court. (Functions and Duties of a Juror, n.d.) However, jurors, who like all other humans, have the potential to be biased, meaning that their final decision can sometimes be influenced by many factors.
The Effect of Defendant Race on Simulated Juror Decisions
In 1998, a study on the ...view middle of the document...
(Gordon, Bindrim, McNicholas & Walden, 2001)
The Impact of Defendant Gender and Relationship to Victim on Juror Decisions in a Child Sexual Abuse Case
In 2007 a study was conducted by McCoy and Grey to determine ‘The impact of defendant gender and relationship to victim on juror decisions in a child sexual abuse case’. In this study, each of 256 mock jurors was presented with a trial alleging the sexual assault of a 10 year old girl. The alleged offender was labelled as the victim’s father, the victim’s mother, and a male or female stranger. Each participant then determined whether or not the defendant was guilty, rate their confidence in the verdict, and rank the believability of the victim and the defendant. The results revealed that the jurors were more likely to find male defendants guilty than female defendants. Female jurors rated the victim as more believable and the defendant less believable than male jurors. However, all of the jurors rated the victim as more believable if the defendant was male.
Limitations of previous research
One limitation of previous research is that it only looks at the relationship between crime types and racial stereotypes, and not crime types and gender. Another is that it only looked at the relationship when the crime was sexual assault which is typically a crime committed by males. This means that results only provided information about males being guilty more often than females when accused of a crime typically committed by males.
The effect of gender on guilt likelihood is significantly different to the effects of race and relation to victim in guilt likelihood. Therefore, in the current study, the effect of gender typical crimes are applied to the likeliness of males or females being found guilty to determine if crime types affect guilt likelihood.
Our study examines whether people view male defendants as always more likely to be guilty compared to female defendants, or does the match with the crime type. The only differences between the situations are the crime committed (i.e., assault and shoplifting) and the gender of the defendant. Based on previous studies, it is hypothesized that if the crime is typically male and female, then males and females, respectively, are more likely to be found guilty.