Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

Rights Information

© 2013 Alexis Barab

Abstract

This study examined the relationships among participants’ emotional intelligence and participants’ sympathy for an alleged rape victim[1], sympathy for a defendant, and verdict in a mock rape case. Participants were 219 (127 female, 92 male) United States jury eligible individuals between the ages of 18 and 66. Participants were given a rape trial summary accompanied by a manipulated emotional facial expression of the alleged rape victim (angry, sad, afraid, or neutral), or no photograph. Participants were asked to render an individual case verdict and complete a questionnaire with measures to test sympathy for the alleged rape victim, sympathy for the defendant, self-emotional intelligence, other-emotional intelligence, and rape-myth acceptance. Results provided evidence that self and other-emotional intelligences are positively correlated; sympathy for rape victim and sympathy for the defendant do have an effect on case verdict; and, participant characteristics including gender, age, and race are predictive of rape myth acceptance, sympathy for the defendant, sympathy for the victim, and emotional intelligence. Further research should expand on emotional intelligence as a juror characteristic in the United States as well as internationally.

[1] The term rape victim, rather than rape survivor, is used in this study to refer to an individual’s victim status in the context of the legal system.

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