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The present study examined the effect of racial dissimilarity on the evaluative attitude of black subjects. One hundred and eighty-six male and female subjects participated in a simulated jury experiment in which the race of the victim, the race of the defendant, and the amount of evidence against the defendant were varied. The subjects read transcripts of either an inter-racial or an intra-racial forcible rape case against the defendant and then evaluated the defendant on certain trait dimensions. The results indicated that the racial similarity of the defendant and/or the victim to the subject jurors influenced the level of negative traits attributed to the defendant. The results strongly indicated that prejudicial social evaluation of the outgroup is a two-sided phenomenon. The interaction effects observed in the study seemed to indicate that factors such as the context under which the evaluative behavior took place, sex affiliation, the victim's race and the level of evidence tended to influence trait attribution to a dissimilar other. These results were discussed in the context of prejudicial trait attribution to a dissimilar defendant and the possible effects of such attitude on jury decision-making.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1976

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