Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Michael Leippe

Second Reader

Sean Murphy

Third Advisor

Charles Stone


Black, Hispanic and White participant-jurors read a murder trial transcript in which the defendant belonged to either one of the other racial/ethnic groups (outgroup) or their own racial/ethnic group (ingroup). In the two-verdict condition, participants were provided with two verdict options: guilty or not guilty. In the three-verdict condition, participant-jurors were provided with three verdict options: guilty of second-degree murder (primary charge), guilty of voluntary manslaughter (lesser charge) or not guilty. In all conditions, participants provided their verdict preference, verdict certainty, the defendant’s likelihood of guilt and the strength of evidence. Participants in the two-verdict condition indicated higher proportions of conviction for the primary charge (second-degree murder) than those in the three-verdict condition. No difference was observed when the analysis examined rates of conviction for both second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, combined. Outgroup defendants received significantly less proportions of guilt, of the primary charge, in the three-verdict condition.



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