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ERIC Number: EJ918721
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0145-2134
Gender Differences in Jurors' Perceptions of Infanticide Involving Disabled and Non-Disabled Infant Victims
Bottoms, Bette L.; Kalder, Alaine K.; Stevenson, Margaret C.; Oudekerk, Barbara A.; Wiley, Tisha R.; Perona, Alison
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, v35 n2 p127-141 Feb 2011
Objectives: The present study investigated the influence of juror gender and infant victim disability on jurors' reactions to infanticide cases. Methods: Participants (men and women undergraduates) read a summary of a mock trial involving alleged father-perpetrated infanticide. The infant was described as severely mentally disabled or as not disabled. Participants completed a series of case-related judgments (e.g., guilt; sentence; and empathy, sympathy, and similarity toward the defendant and victim). Results: There were pervasive gender differences such that compared to men, women mock jurors rendered more guilty verdicts, perceived the father/defendant as having greater intent to kill his infant, and felt less similar to the defendant. Compared to men, women also believed the father was more responsible and the pneumonia was less responsible for the infant's death, had less sympathy and empathy for the defendant, endorsed more negative beliefs about the father, and were more likely to believe the infant was a unique person. Mediational analyses revealed that these statistically significant effects were explained, in part, by gender differences in attitudes toward the defendant. Further, whether the infant victim was portrayed as severely disabled (versus developmentally normal) had little effect on central case judgments such as verdict, but jurors who believed the infant was severely disabled gave significantly shorter sentences to the defendant, were less likely to perceive the defendant as mentally ill, and felt significantly less empathy for and similarity to the infant victim. Conclusions: Although juror gender consistently predicted juror's judgments, there were fewer effects of disability status. Even so, bias against disabled infants manifested for several dependant variables. Practical implications: This research can inform legal professionals about the potential for bias in juror decision-making, and in turn, help facilitate fairness and justice for the youngest and most vulnerable victims of child abuse.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A