Science, psychopathy, and sexually violent predators: do expert witnesses make a difference?

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dc.contributor Colquitt, Joseph A.
dc.contributor Salekin, Randall T.
dc.contributor.advisor Brodsky, Stanley L.
dc.contributor.author Jones, Michelle Andrea
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-01T17:38:42Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-01T17:38:42Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002171
dc.identifier.other Jones_alatus_0004M_12599
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/2540
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Many states allow individuals to be civilly committed as “sexually violent predators” if a judge or jury determines they are likely to engage in a sexual offense once released due to a mental abnormality or personality disorder. To be committed, the evidence must demonstrate that the person in question has serious difficulty controlling his behavior, and evidence of psychopathy is frequently introduced in these cases. However, some have voiced concern that there is no guidance regarding how to define or assess volitional control, that experts often reach different conclusions in these cases, that predicting future behavior is difficult to assess, and that evidence of psychopathy might bias the factfinder. The current study examined whether a psychopathy diagnosis or the presence and content of expert testimony regarding these concerns would influence participants’ sentencing decisions and attitudes about the person on trial. A 2 (diagnosis) x 3 (defense expert testimony) design was employed and mock trial testimony from an SVP trial was presented to 184 undergraduate students. Although psychopathy diagnosis and defense expert testimony did not significantly impact the primary dependent variables of interest, exploratory analyses yielded significant findings regarding gender differences, perceptions of volitional control, and factors that influenced participants’ decisions. Implications and avenues for further research are discussed.
dc.format.extent 150 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Psychology
dc.title Science, psychopathy, and sexually violent predators: do expert witnesses make a difference?
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Dept. of Psychology
etdms.degree.discipline Psychology
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level master's
etdms.degree.name M.A.


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