The defendant's dilemma: Effects of jurors' attitudes and authoritarianism on judicial decisions

  • Mitchell H
  • Byrne D
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Tested the hypotheses that (a) attitude similarity between defendant and juror is positively related to judicial decisions favoring the defendant, and (b) juror authoritarianism is negatively related to judicial decisions favoring the defendant. In a simulated jury situation, 139 undergraduates responded to an accused defendant whose attitudes were either similar to or different from their own on 5 issues irrelevant to the case. Ss then completed a 22-item authoritarian scale previously used by D. Byrne and J. Lamberth. Analysis of variance indicated a significant interaction between authoritarianism and attitude similarity on certainty of the defendant's guilt (p < .004) and recommended severity of punishment (p < .02). It appears that attraction influences the judicial decisions of authoritarians but not of egalitarians. (43 ref.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • authoritarianism, judicial decisions, college students
  • juror's attitudes &

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  • PUI: 293259284
  • PMID: 4688161
  • SGR: 0015536651
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-0015536651
  • PII: S0022351407629744
  • ISSN: 00223514
  • DOI: 10.1037/h0034263


  • Herman E. Mitchell

  • Donn Byrne

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