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NCJ Number: 73766 Find in a Library
Title: Effects of a Victim's Suffering and Respectability on Mock Juror Judgments - Further Evidence on the Just World Theory
Journal: Representative Research in Social Psychology  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(1977)  Pages:42-56
Author(s): N L Kerr; S T Kurtz
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Medical Ctr
La Jolla, CA 92037
Grant Number: R-14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A study testing the validity of the just world theory with regard to juror judgments is presented; the effort is a replication of the 1973 study conducted by Jones and Aronson.
Abstract: The just world theory holds particularly interesting implications for the task of the juror. In brief, the theory holds that the world is just; one gets what one deserves and deserves what one gets. One prediction which follows from the just world theory is that if a good, highly respectable person is the victim of a crime, an individual's conception of a just world is violated more than if a less respectable, bad person is the victim. In this study, 229 mock jurors who were undergraduate psychology students read two case summaries, made sentence recommendations, judged the victim's responsibility, and evaluated the victims. The respectability of the victim, the seriousness of harm to the victim, and the subjects' belief in the just world were varied in a factorial design for each of the two cases. In support of the theory, the defendant was given longer sentences when the victim suffered more. However, the remaining results uniformly failed to support the just world theory; that is, the respectable and suffering victim was neither blamed nor devalued more than a victim who was less respectable or suffered less. Those who believed most strongly that the world is just were not more likely to punish the defendant or blame the victim, and they even gave more positive evaluations of the victim than those with weak belief in the just world. Footnotes, tables, and 25 references are included in the study. (Author abstract modified).
Index Term(s): Juries; Jury decisionmaking; Studies; Theory; Victim crime precipitation; Victimology
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