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Current & Recent Research at Penn Law

File: [View Document]
Author: Bergold, Amanda
Leippe, Michael
Eisenstadt, Donna
Citation: Michael R. Leippe, Amanda N. Bergold & Donna Eisenstadt, Prejudice and Terror Management at Trial: Effect of Defendant Race/Ethnicity and Mortality Salience on Mock-Jurors’ Verdict Judgments, 156 J. OF SOC. PSYCHOL. (forthcoming 2016)
Date Published: Forthcoming
Date Posted: 08/18/2016
Subjects: Law and Social Sciences
Keywords: Jury Decision Making
Following a mortality salience or control prime, Black, Hispanic, and White
college students read a murder/carjacking or auto theft trial transcript in
which the defendant belonged to their racial/ethnic group or one of the
others. Black and Hispanic, but not White, mock-jurors discriminated, more
frequently judging outgroup defendants guilty. Mortality salience affected
judgments about outgroup, but not ingroup, defendants, heightening perceptions
of guilt in the murder case and decreasing guilty verdict preferences
in the theft case. Mortality salience may compel derogation of
outgroup defendants who threaten the cultural worldview, but not of less
threatening ingroup defendants. The effect, however, seems restricted to
crimes like murder that can sustain death-related anxiety.