The purpose of this study was to examine moral disengagement strategies, such as dehumanization, responsibility displacement, and victim blame, in mock juror decision making in a case involving the gay panic defense. Mock jurors with high levels of moral disengagement were expected to find the defendant guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter more often than mock jurors with low levels of moral disengagement. Mock jurors read one of two vignettes that outlined a murder case in which the defendant claimed he was provoked either by an unwanted homosexual advanced from the victim, or an attempted robbery and assault by the victim. They were then asked choose between the charges of manslaughter and murder for the defendant. It was hypothesized that the defendant using the gay panic defense would receive more findings of manslaughter than the defendant in the robbery and assault vignette. This hypothesis was not supported, as the defendant in the robbery and assault vignette received more verdicts finding him guilty of manslaughter than the defendant in the gay panic vignette. However, 57% of mock jurors still supported the use of the gay panic defense. Moral disengagement did not have a significant effect on mock juror decision making in either vignette. Mock jurors with high levels of victim blame found the defendant guilty of manslaughter more often than those with low levels of victim blame. Limitations of this study and implications for society and the legal system are discussed, and future directions for research are offered.
|Commitee:||Harrington, Evan, Kulb, Steven|
|School:||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology|
|Department:||Clinical Forensic Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Accounting, Law, Social psychology, GLBT Studies|
|Keywords:||Gay panic defense, Juror decision making, Moral disengagement|
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