Faculty Advisor

Skorinko, Jeanine

Abstract

This research examined the influence of perspective taking with a defendant and emotionality of victim impact statements on courtroom decisions. We hypothesize that perspective taking with the defendant will limit the effects of emotionality within victim impact statements. In Study 1 a statement prompted participants to perspective take with a defendant in a murder trial. Participants also viewed either flat or high emotionality victim impact statements. Study 2 replicated study one, but instead primed participants to perspective take with the defendant using a sentence unscrambling task. The results of Study 1 were inconclusive. Study 2 found that perspective taking with the defendant diminished the influence of the emotionality of the victim impact statements on sentencing and empathy.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2013

Major

Psychological Science

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project

Accessibility

Unrestricted

Advisor Department

Social Science and Policy Studies

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