Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The insanity defense: Public opinion and the public's tendency to implicate mental illness in high-profile crimes
by Elmore, Scott K., Psy.D., Alliant International University, 2015, 91; 3614955
Abstract (Summary)

Media accounts have influenced public opinion about the insanity defense and have given rise to misperceptions about its purpose and rate of usage. This study hypothesizes that the public is more likely to implicate mental illness in irrational crimes and that the more media exposure given to the case, the more likely the public is to implicate mental illness. This study also seeks to establish current public opinion of the utility and prevalence of the insanity defense. The results of this research do not conclusively indicate that amount of media attention can be used to predict the public's tendency to implicate mental illness as a motive for crime, thus, hypothesis one was only partially supported. Meanwhile, hypothesis two, participants will be more likely to implicate mental illness in crime that they perceive to be irrational was not supported by this study. The third hypothesis, participants will be more likely to give a verdict of NGRI if they implicated mental illness as the motive for the crime, was only partially supported by this study. With the ever-growing media attention devoted to implicating mental illness in high-profile crimes, results from this study suggest that the public does not correlate the amount of media attention dedicated to high-profile cases with mental illness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brodie, Laura
Commitee: Damavandi, Noor
School: Alliant International University
Department: Irvine, CSFS
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Psychology, Clinical psychology, Criminology
Keywords: Forensic psychology, Juries, Mass shooting, Media and high profile crimes, Not guilty by reason of insanity, Sanity defense
Publication Number: 3614955
ISBN: 978-1-303-80656-8
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