skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 245385 Find in a Library
Title: Results From Experimental Trials Testing Participant Responses to White, Hispanic and Black Suspects in High-Fidelity Deadly Force Judgment and Decision-Making Simulations
Journal: Journal of Experimental Criminology  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:June 2013  Pages:189-212
Author(s): Lois James; Bryan Vila; Kenn Daratha
Date Published: June 2013
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Arlington, VA 22203-2114
National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Arlington, VA 22203-1995
Grant Number: 2008-IJ-CX-0015; N000149810802;109279-001
Document: HTML (Payment required for full text)|PDF (Payment required for full text)
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Advance the methodological techniques used to examine the influence of suspect race and ethnicity on participant decisions to shoot in an experimental setting.
Abstract: After developing and testing a novel set of 60 realistic, high definition video deadly force scenarios based on 30 years of official data on officer-involved shootings in the United States, 3 separate experiments were conducted testing police (n=36), civilian (n=72) and military (n=6) responses (n=1,812) to the scenarios in high-fidelity computerized training simulators. Participants’ responses to White, Black and Hispanic suspects in potentially deadly situations were analyzed using a multi-level mixed methods strategy. Key response variables were reaction time to shoot and shooting errors. In all three experiments using a more externally valid research method than previous studies, the authors found that participants took longer to shoot Black suspects than White or Hispanic suspects. In addition, where errors were made, participants across experiments were more likely to shoot unarmed White suspects than unarmed Black or Hispanic suspects, and were more likely to fail to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White or Hispanic suspects. In sum, this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring Black suspects in their decisions to shoot. The results of these three experiments challenge the results of less robust experimental designs and shed additional light on the broad issue of the role that status characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, play in the criminal justice system. Future research should explore the generalizability of these findings, determine whether bias favoring Black suspects is a consequence of administrative measures (e.g., education, training, policies, and laws), and identify the cognitive processes that underlie this phenomenon. Abstract published by arrangement with Springer.
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Ethnicity; NIJ grant-related documents; Police simulation training; Police use of deadly force; Race
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.