Term of Award

1995

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Margaret A. Lloyd

Committee Member 1

Janice H. Kennedy

Committee Member 2

William D. McIntosh

Abstract

This study attempted to investigate the effects of the sex of the defense attorney and juror sex-role identity on jurors' verdict decisions in a simulated sexual harassment case. Previous research has shown that both defense attorney sex and sex-role identity influence decisions reached by jurors. It was predicted that when a male defendant was represented by a female defense attorney in a sexual harassment case, the defendant would receive more "not guilty" verdicts than when represented by a male defense attorney. In addition, it was predicted that androgynous and undifferentiated jurors would be more likely to find the defendant "not guilty" than masculine and feminine jurors when the defendant was represented by a female defense attorney. It was also predicted that androgynous and undifferentiated individuals would be more likely to characterize the female defense attorney in a positive manner than would masculine and feminine individuals. One hundred twenty-one undergraduates participated in this study. It was found that neither defense attorney sex nor juror sex-type category affected the verdict. Masculine and feminine individuals were found to believe that the female defense attorney possessed a more positive character them did undifferentiated and androgynous individuals. This study discusses possible reasons for the findings and ideas for future jury research with sexual harassment cases.

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