The Effects of Physical Attractiveness, Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Gender of Defendants and Victims on Judgments of Mock Jurors: A Meta-Analysis1

Authors


  • 1

    We want to thank Samuel L. Gaertner, Wilbur Castellow, and Richard Patrick McGlynn for providing us with unpublished convention papers for use in this meta-analysis, Randall Gordon and Karl Wuensch for providing us with unpublished papers or data from their experiments, and Robert MacCoun, Norman Miller, and Brian Mullen for comments on a draft of this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Alan Feingold, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, 27 Sylvan Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519.

Abstract

A meta-analysis of experimental research on mock juror judgments was conducted to assess the effects of physical attractiveness, race, socioeconomic status (SES), and gender of both defendants and victims to test the theory that jurors use characteristics that are correlated with criminal behavior as cues to infer guilt and to recommend punishment. In general, it was advantageous for defendants to be physically attractive, female, and of high SES, although these advantages were nil for some crimes. There were no overall effects of race on mock jurors' judgments, but the effect of defendant race on punishment was strongly moderated by type of crime. Effects of victim characteristics on jurors' judgments were generally inconsequential, although defendants were at a disadvantage when the victim was female.

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