Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

January 2014

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Sophia Evett

Abstract

This research seeks to expand on the results of a mock jury civil trial study conducted by Sophia R. Evett, Anne-Marie G. Hakstian, & Liisa A. Burk (2012). In this study, 124 participants were placed on one of 20 juries (10 with black participants and 10 without). All participants were then asked to read a case involving an incident, at a department store. After reading the case, (Harmon vs. Reilly’s Department Store), participants were told that the plaintiff’s claim was either based on racial discrimination or unlawful detention. Deliberation analysis allowed researchers to observe topics used by jurors to persuade other jurors to change their mind from either siding with the plaintiff or the defendant. Results suggest that statements expressing empathy for the plaintiff were more prevalent when jurors found for the plaintiff while statements expressing a lack of empathy were found in juries that sided with the defendant. Statements implying that the case lies on a continuum (statements such as “His actions were not too extreme” or “Some things were right and some things were wrong”) were correlated with a finding for the defendant. Lastly juries that mentioned that the store followed policy were more likely to find for the defendant while statements about the store not following policy did not have an affect on the outcome of the case.

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