Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Department

Psychology

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Sheila Walker

Rights Information

© 2014 Asia B. Henderson

Abstract

Relationships between victim race, defendant race, participant characteristics, and general perceptions were assessed as they pertained to the final verdict. Photographs and brief date rape vignette were given to 339 participants. Participants were also asked to respond to follow-up questionnaire, Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Short Form scale, and Feeling Thermometer. Finally, participants were asked to render a final verdict, guilty or not guilty. Results indicated that participants’ perceptions relating towards responsibility significant predicted the likelihood of a guilty verdict being rendered. Additionally, results showed that there were significant differences across victim race and defendant race on verdict, such that overall the further the victim and defendant were apart on the color line, the more likely it would be for that case to receive a guilty verdict. Several participant variables also had significant effects on verdict, assignments of responsibility, and warmth towards specific racial groups. Results, future directions, and general implications are discussed.

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