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Black jurors' personality trait attribution to a rape case defendant

Denis Chimaeze E. Ugwuegbu (University of Ibadan)
Cite this article:  Ugwuegbu, D. (1976). Black jurors' personality trait attribution to a rape case defendant. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 4, 193-202.
Publication date: August 1976


In the present study the effect of racial dissimilarity on the evaluative attitude of 186 male and female black participants was investigated. Participants took part 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 varied. The participants read transcripts of either an interracial or an intraracial 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 participant jurors influenced the level of negative traits attributed to the defendant. The results strongly indicated that prejudicial social evaluation of the outgroup is a 2-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.

Full Text: PDF  pp. 193-202