The present research was supported by a grant from the German Science Foundation (DFG, grant number 264/17–1). We would like to thank Fritz Strack for his helpful suggestions concerning this research.
Sentencing Under Uncertainty: Anchoring Effects in the Courtroom†
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 31, Issue 7, pages 1535–1551, July 2001
How to Cite
Enough, B. and Mussweiler, T. (2001), Sentencing Under Uncertainty: Anchoring Effects in the Courtroom. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31: 1535–1551. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02687.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Research on juridical decision making has demonstrated that largely disparate sentences are often given for identical crimes. This may be the case because judges' sentencing decisions are influenced by a recommended or demanded sentence. Building on research on judgmental anchoring (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974), the present investigation examines whether a sentencing demand has a direct influence on a given sentence. Using criminal trial judges as participants, Study 1 demonstrates that such a direct influence does, in fact, exist. Sentencing decisions are assimilated to the sentence demanded by the prosecutor. Study 2 further reveals that this influence is independent of the perceived relevance of the sentencing demand. Study 3 demonstrates that this influence is also independent of judges' experience.