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AN ATTRIBUTIONAL ANALYSIS OF JURORS' JUDGMENTS IN A CRIMINAL CASE: A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

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Abstract:

A study was conducted to determine the extent to which attributional complexity influences juror decision-making. Using Fletcher's (1986) attributional complexity scale, mock jurors (N=186), who were shown a videotape of a simulated armed robbery, then rendered individual judgments on the case. The results showed that attributionally-simple subjects found the defendant guilty more often both before and after presentation of the evidence, reported more confidence in their final decision, and attributed more personal causes to the defendant's behavior. Attributionally-complex subjects, while not excluding the role of internal causes, were more likely to consider external causes as possible influences on the defendant's behavior. The findings demonstrate the existence of clear individual differences in attributional style and the potential importance of this variable for jury selection.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1999.27.6.563

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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