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Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Matthew Hunsinger

Abstract

There are significant racial disparities in our criminal justice system and increasing evidence that implicit racial bias impacts legal decision making, both in real world settings and mock-juror studies. Experts in the field have suggested that specific education and training can reduce the impact of implicit bias on decision making. Specifically, interactive training that emphases and demonstrates individuals’ own experience of implicit biases, such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) may help to increase awareness of biased decision-making and change behavior. However, little research currently exists to support the use of education on implicit bias for jurors. This is a pilot study exploring three forms of juror education: standard juror instruction (SJI), implicit bias education (IBE), and the use of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants completed an online survey as mock-jurors evaluating trial evidence, including pictures of either a dark-skinned perpetrator or a light-skinned perpetrator. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three juror education interventions to evaluate the impact of training on biased decision making. Timing of juror education training was also evaluated. Results did not evidence harsher ratings of guilt of the dark skinned perpetrator in any condition, inconsistent with previous research or predicted outcomes. The unexpected findings are explored, including the unforeseen impact of cognitive processes and changes in national discussion of implicit biases. Limitations of the current study and directions for future research are also discussed.

Available for download on Sunday, October 20, 2019

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