The biasing effects of attitudes and their impact on crucial jury decision-making

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Morgan, Anne
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between attitudes towards specific socioeconomic groups and decisions made as part of a mock jury based on two pieces of eyewitness testimony. An attempt was also made to substantiate earlier findings by Wells, Lindsay and Ferguson (1979). A repeated measures design was used in this experiment with 50 participants taking part overall. The independent variables were each participant’s attitude score towards lower and middle socioeconomic groups and the appearance of each eyewitness. The dependent variables were the participants' ratings of the honesty, credibility and confidence of each eyewitness as well as the verdict which they gave on both questionnaires and their subsequent confidence in this verdict. Results concluded that there was not a significant relationship between positive and negative attitudes towards both socioeconomic groups and overall verdicts given in relation to the information provided by both eyewitnesses. However, a significant correlation was found between overall attitudes to both groups and whether or not each participant had suffered a negative experience with the type of person each eyewitness represented.