Repressed memory lawsuits: Potential verdict predictors

Authors

  • James W. Schutte M.A.

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Texas as El Paso
    • Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This research examined the relationship between verdict and juror sex, ethnicity, religiosity and authoritarianism, and case type in lawsuits involving repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Subjects (N = 251) read excerpts from one of two hypothetical lawsuits (one involving claims of incest or one involving accusations of satanic ritual abuse; SRA), rendered an individual verdict, and responded to demographic questionnaires and measures of religiosity and authoritarianism. It was predicted that jurors who were female, highly religious, high authoritarian, or Mexican-American would be most likely to sympathize with the plaintiff, and that the SRA version would be less successful. Logit analysis yielded a main effect of sex on verdict and an interaction between sex, authoritarianism, and religiosity on verdict, both findings consistent with predictions. Hypotheses predicting main effects of ethnicity on verdict and case type on verdict did not find statistical support.

Ancillary