This research was funded by a General Research Fund grant to the second author from the University of Kansas. The authors wish to thank Eugene Borgida for providing a videotape from which the trial materials in this study were excerpted.
The Determinants of Mock Jurors' Verdicts in a Rape Case1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 20, Issue 11, pages 901–919, June 1990
How to Cite
Weir, J. A. and Wrightsman, L. S. (1990), The Determinants of Mock Jurors' Verdicts in a Rape Case. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20: 901–919. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1990.tb01467.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
The determinants of verdicts in a rape case were examined. Pretrial attitudes (rape empathy, juror bias, belief in a just world, and authoritarianism) were measured to ascertain both the intercorrelations among the attitudes and their predictive value of verdicts. The eye contact (staring, avoiding, or random) of the alleged rape victim with the defendant was also examined.
Results showed that rape empathy was predictive of verdict. The eye contact of the alleged victim with the defendant also affected verdicts of female mock jurors. Specifically, when eye contact was avoided, more guilty verdicts were rendered. Furthermore, interpretation of eye contact was found to be a function of mock jurors' reported rape empathy. Specifically, subjects who reported empathy with the victim tended to interpret the victim's behavior as consistent with being raped. Finally, differences were found between high and low empathizers for the rape victim in what aspects of the trial were important to mock jurors' decisions.