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Current & Recent Research at Penn Law

File: [View Document]
Author: Bergold, Amanda
Zimmerman, David
Rodriguez, Dario
Penrod, Steven
Citation: David Zimmerman, Dario Rodriguez, Amanda Bergold & Steven Penrod, The Influence of Pretrial Exposure to Community Outrage and Victim Hardship on Guilt Judgments, 22 PSYCHOL., CRIME & L. 435 (2016)
Date Published: 2016
Date Posted: 08/18/2016
Subjects: Law and Social Sciences
Keywords: Jury Decision Making
Although the courts have explicitly expressed concerns about the
effects of public sentiment on juries in highly publicized cases, no
research has isolated the degree to which jurors’ exposure to
community outrage and/or prospective social interactions in the
community independently influence judgments of guilt. In the
current research, jury eligible undergraduates were randomly
assigned to conditions in a 2 (negative defendant facts pretrial
publicity (PTP): present vs. absent) × 2 (community outrage PTP:
present vs. absent) × 2 (anticipated social interaction: present vs.
absent) between subjects factorial design. In an online session,
participants read articles containing PTP (or not), and two days
later they arrived at the lab to serve as mock jurors in a murder
case – before the trial they were instructed (or not) that they
would interact with people from the community in which the case
was taking place. Neither PTP containing extra-evidentiary facts
about the defendant nor prospective interaction with the
community had main or interactive effects on guilt measures;
however, mock jurors rated the defendant as more likely to be
guilty when they read information about community outrage and
hardships on victims. These findings suggest future avenues of
PTP research focusing on community outrage and victim impacts.