Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of crime-drama TV viewing on mock-juror self-efficacy, adherence to judicial admonitions, verdicts, and verdict certainty in a murder trial
by Sarapin, Susan Huelsing, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2012, 205; 3545378
Abstract (Summary)

This is a quantitative exploration of one construct of the CSI effect, the presumed impact of law- and crime-oriented television consumption on the attitudes and behavior of jurors as they relate to the Ohio judicial instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence in the form of outside media influences. The value of this experiment lies in its use of a realistic method for empirically testing a media effect, which, to date, has been dismissed by legal and psychology scholars as merely anecdotal. The study, informed by Bandura's self-efficacy model of his social cognitive theory and Wegner's theory of ironic processes of mental control, involved a heterogeneous sample of 230 jury-eligible citizens aged 18–70 (M = 36.6 years). In addition to completing three surveys, mock jurors were divided among 36 juries in a 2 X 2 design. The first factor was admonition at two levels: (a) minimal forget and (b) elaborate forget. The second factor was cognitive load at two levels: (a) low and (b) high. The main measures were self-efficacy in the evaluation of physical scientific evidence, verdict, verdict confidence, and verbal references to TV crime shows during deliberation (the criterion of admonition violation). The most important findings were: (a) self-perceived self-efficacy in the evaluation of scientific evidence mediated the relationship between crime-drama viewing and verdict and verdict certainty; (b) frequent viewers of general TV, not crime TV, were more likely than infrequent viewers to disobey the elaborate-forget admonition; (c) frequent viewers of crime TV had a greater likelihood to convict, a greater self-perceived ability to evaluate forensic evidence, and greater verdict certainty; (d) there was an interaction effect of admonition and cognitive load on mentions of crime shows; and (e) there was a three-way interaction between general TV exposure, admonition, and cognitive load on references to crime shows. This research supports the existence of the CSI effect.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sparks, Glenn G.
Commitee: Jackson, Eugene, Morgan, Melanie, Ogles, Robert
School: Purdue University
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Law, Communication, Mass communications
Keywords: CSI effect, Crime drama, Juror behavior, Jury deliberation, Media effects, Television
Publication Number: 3545378
ISBN: 9781267776044
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