Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

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Rights Information

© 2014 Isabelle S. Speers


Mistrust in law enforcement is a current problem that America is facing. This study examined how officer gender and race influences perceptions of trust, “masculine” and “feminine” attributes, and level of guilt in a scenario depicting potential police brutality. A hundred American adult participants read one of four possible vignettes describing a shooting between a police officer and a n African American male victim. The conditions varied along the two key dimensions of police race and police gender. Thus the study consisted of a 2 (Police Race: Black or White) by 2 (Police Gender: Male or Female) between- participants factorial design. Participants were then asked to rate the degree of officer blame, officer “masculinity” and “femininity”, as well perceptions of trust in the officer. White, male officers are expected to be blamed significantly more than female and African American officers. Trust in female officers is also expected to be significantly higher than in male officers. Male officers are likely to be considered more “masculine” and less “feminine” than female officers.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.