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Author Singer, Julie A
Title Jurors' emotional reactions to juvenile and adult crime: The impact on attributions and sentencing
book jacket
Descript 287 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-04, Section: B, page: 2674
Adviser: James T. Richardson
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Nevada, Reno, 2008
The goal of this dissertation research is to directly test for the presence of emotional moral reasoning (called moral outrage) as it mediates the relationship between attributions of responsibility and ultimate sentencing goals. This research seeks to determine whether retributive desires (versus other sentencing goals, such as rehabilitative or restorative) are shaping perceptions of juvenile offenders. It tests the idea that moral outrage, which is expressed as anger (leading to desires for retribution) or a combination of anger, contempt, and disgust, mediates attributions of responsibility for a crime that has been committed (Darley & Pittman, 2003). This moral outrage is a cue to third parties about how a transgressor should be treated: should he receive a long prison sentence, should he undergo rehabilitation, should he pay restitution to the crime victim, etc
The dissertation consists of two experimental studies, using jury-eligible college students and community members from across the United States (but concentrated in the northern Nevada area) as participants. Participants in Study One watched a summary of a murder trial and participants in Study Two read a written summary of an assault and battery trial. In the first study, intentionality to commit the crime (if it was an accident, a result of negligence, or intentional) as well as age of offender, were manipulated. In the second, controllability and stability of the cause of the crime committed, as well as the age of the offender, were manipulated. In each, participants were asked to state what they believe the most appropriate justice outcome (prison time, restitution, rehabilitation, etc.) was and why. Their emotional reactions to the crime were measured and they completed a number of other psychological scales. Ultimately, the objective of this research was to see if emotion plays a mediating role between attributions of responsibility and ultimate sentencing decisions for juvenile offenders. Study One confirmed that intent to commit a crime is a strong predictor of subsequent moral outrage, attributions of responsibility, and ultimately justice assignments. Age of defendant was not a significant predictor of any of these outcomes, suggesting that participants viewed juvenile and adult offenders through the lens of the crime committed and not their age. Study Two did not confirm that controllability and stability of the cause of the crime were predictors of subsequent justice decisions; however, further study into these relationships is required
School code: 0139
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 69-04B
Subject Law
Psychology, Social
0398
0451
Alt Author University of Nevada, Reno. Social Psychology
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