Date of Award

Spring 6-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Deryn Strange

Second Reader

Jennifer Dysart

Third Advisor

William Crozier

Abstract

Bait questions—hypothetical questions about evidence, often used by detectives during interrogations—can activate the misinformation effect and alter jurors’ perceptions of the evidence of a case. Here, we were interested in investigating whether mock jurors’ implicit biases could amplify the magnitude of the misinformation effect. We accomplished this by manipulating the age and race of the suspect being interrogated. As an extension of Luke et al. (2017), we had participants read a police report describing evidence found at a crime scene, then read a transcript of a police interrogation where the detective used bait questions to introduce new evidence not presented in the report. Critically, the suspect was a juvenile rather than an adult, and we experimentally manipulated whether the juvenile was Black or White. In a second study, we also manipulated the way the suspect answered questions during the interrogation. Their responses either explained or rejected the evidence provided through the bait questions. Our results showed that bait questions did activate the misinformation effect and caused jurors to commit memory errors about the evidence; however, the race and age of the suspects did not seem to influence the magnitude of the effect.

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