Skip to main content

Severity of prescribed penalty and mock jurors' verdicts.

Kerr, Norbert L. (1978) Severity of prescribed penalty and mock jurors' verdicts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36 (12). pp. 1431-1442. ISSN 0022-3514. (doi:10.1037/0022-3514.36.12.1431) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.36.12.1431

Abstract

An analogy between the process of reaching a verdict by an individual juror and the testing of a statistical hypothesis leads to the predictions that as the severity of the prescribed penalty for an offense is increased, the amount of evidence required by jurors to convict will also increase and the probability of conviction will decrease. A review of the literature suggests that while historical, anecdotal, and field evidence seems to favor the latter prediction, the extant experimental work has offered little support. A study was performed with 449 undergraduates to experimentally test the predictions. The conviction rate for individual mock jurors was inversely related to the severity of the prescribed penalty, as predicted. A previous failure to confirm this prediction was attributed to an inappropriate choice of response scale. An analysis employing E. Thomas and A. Hogue's (1976) model confirmed the prediction that more evidence of guilt would be required for conviction when the prescribed penalty was severe. Thus, increasing penalties for criminal offenses may actually lower the percentage of convictions for those offenses.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/0022-3514.36.12.1431
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: M.L. Barnoux
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2014 11:49 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 12:58 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/42555 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):