Lay perceptions of psychopathy and their effect on legal decision-making

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dc.contributor Hart, William P.
dc.contributor Pennington, Liana
dc.contributor.advisor Cox, Jennifer Kopkin, Megan R. 2017-03-01T17:47:07Z 2017-03-01T17:47:07Z 2016
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002406
dc.identifier.other Kopkin_alatus_0004M_12739
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Although prior studies have assessed lay perceptions of psychopathy, few studies have examined the effect of these perceptions on individuals’ legal judgments and decisions. The purpose of the present study was to assess lay perceptions of psychopathy and determine how these perceptions affect expert witness credibility ratings and sentencing decisions in a capital murder trial. Mock jurors completed an assessment of their perception of psychopathy, and subsequently, reviewed a case vignette of a capital murder trial. Approximately half of the mock jurors also read an excerpt of expert witness testimony concerning the defendant’s psychopathic traits. Mock jurors then sentenced the defendant, and if applicable, rated the expert witness’s credibility. Their perceptions of psychopathy were also reassessed. Mock jurors’ endorsement of psychopathy’s interpersonal and affective characteristics (e.g., conning, egotistical, remorseless) predicted their perceptions of the expert witness, such that stronger endorsement of these traits was associated with increased beliefs the expert witness’s testimony was credible and valid. Findings also indicated mock jurors whose stereotype of psychopathy included these traits were more likely to support a death penalty verdict. Additional findings, as well as implications for the inclusion of the psychopathy construct in the courtroom, are discussed.
dc.format.extent 83 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 Lay perceptions of psychopathy and their effect on legal decision-making
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Psychology Psychology The University of Alabama master's M.A.

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