Date of Award

Spring 6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Preeti Chauhan


Little is known about how police officer demeanor impacts citizen compliance under specific conditions such as the severity of a crime. Using a sample of 141 college students, we randomly assigned vignettes that manipulated crime severity type (e.g., petty theft or armed robbery) and police officer demeanor (e.g., procedurally just or not procedurally just) to gain a better understanding of this nuanced relationship. Participants were more likely to report suspicious behavior, regardless of crime severity, if the officer demeanor was procedurally just. Additionally, participants were more likely to consent to a search and report a suspicious person in the procedurally just with a severe crime condition when compared to the less procedurally just with a less severe crime condition. There were no significant relationships between crime severity, officer demeanor, and participant's likelihood of providing identification to the officer. The results of this study show the significance of implementing policing strategies that foster aspects of procedural justice, as it may be beneficial for the police in receiving compliance and assistance from the public.



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