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NCJ Number: 76829 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Mood and Social Outlook on Hypothetical Juridic Decisions
Journal: Journal of Applied Social Psychology  Volume:9  Issue:6  Dated:(1979)  Pages:548-559
Author(s): E LaKind; H A Hornstein
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: BNS-76-07697
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper focuses on an experiment which examines both the impact of information about remote social events on judgments of defendants' guilt or innocence in two court cases and the roles of cognitive and affective elements in mediating these judgments.
Abstract: The 50 female subjects were exposed to one of four news stories while ostensibly waiting for an experimental judicial session to begin. They then completed juridic decisions questionnaires which presented two jury cases for judgments, asking subjects to evaluate the guilt or innocence of the defendants. It was hypothesized that social information would be central in influencing the general direction of these judgments, with positive information increasing the tendency toward leniency. It was also hypothesized that positive and negative mood would intensify and attenuate, respectively, the magnitude of the effects produced by this cognitive variable. Results indicated that social information and changes in social outlook caused by the information were of primary importance in altering subjects' judgments about defendants. Subjects who heard positive social information in radio newscasts were more lenient in their judgments of defendants than were those who heard negative social information. Additional findings pertaining to the mediators of this effect suggest that positive mood amplified the impact of social information whatever its direction, while negative mood attenuated it. Five tables, four footnotes, and 21 references are included. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Court simulation; Jury decisionmaking; Psychological research; Research methods; Social conditions; Social psychology; Studies
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