Previous Issue

Click the volume/article title to view article info and download full text.

Volume 15 Issue 1

How Moral Disengagement and Individual Differences Relate to Community Sentiment Toward Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

Miller, M. K., Perez, L.

Controversy surrounds the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques that could be considered torture. Replicating previous studies, 1) sentiment toward torture was moderately supportive yet divided and 2) there was a positive relationship between belief that techniques are effective and belief they are justified. Supporting our hypotheses, general just world beliefs, religious fundamentalism, and moral disengagement negatively related to considering various techniques as torture and positively related to beliefs about effectiveness and justification of torture. Religious devotionalism positively related only to considering various techniques as torture, partially supporting hypotheses. Relationships between IVs (e.g., fundamentalism) and DVs (i.e., sentiment toward torture) were mediated by moral disengagement. This helps explain cognitive processes that underlie sentiment. Finally, the moral disengagement scale we developed had good reliability and predictive ability.

Mock Jury Perceptions of Vulnerable Defendants Assisted in Court by Intermediaries - Are Jurors' Expectations Violated?

Smethurst, J., Collins, K.

Non-registered intermediaries facilitate communication between the courts and vulnerable defendants. Although the role has generally been well received by practitioners, concerns have been raised regarding whether it jeopardises the fairness of legal proceedings. This study is the first to explore the influence of an intermediary on jurors' perceptions of a vulnerable defendant, in light of expectancy violation theory. This was achieved by mock jurors completing a questionnaire relating to their perceptions of a vulnerable defendant pre and post testimony. The juror's expectations were violated/exceeded when the intermediary accompanied the defendant. However, this had no negative implications for the outcome of the case. In fact, the defendant accompanied by an intermediary was perceived more positively than the defendant who was unassisted.

Emotional Experience and Prosocial Behavior in Observers of Unjust Situations

van Doorn, J., Zeelenberg, M., Breugelmans, S. M.

Five studies tested the emotional experience and prosocial motivations in observers (i.e., third parties) of unjust situations. Studies 1 and 2 found that anger was the most dominant emotion experienced in unjust situations, and that prosocial behavior towards a victim decreased when justice had already been restored by compensation of the victim. Study 3 added that the experience of anger also decreases when justice is restored. Study 4 generalized the effects to different types of compensation. Study 5 switches to the perspective of the victim, showing a larger decrease in the most dominant emotion anger when justice was restored by means of compensation than by punishment. The implications of these findings with regard to third-party emotions and behavior in unjust situations are discussed.

Investigator Beliefs of Homicide Crime Scene Characteristics

Reynolds, J. J., Estrada-Reynolds, V., Freng, S., McCrea, S. M.

Homicide investigators rely on a plethora of sources to solve a case, including their own beliefs and intuitions. We discuss a variety of these beliefs and explore their veracity using a novel approach, coding cases from the documentary television show, Forensic Files. Our results indicate that most of these beliefs are unsupported. However, some beliefs may be predictive. Specifically, a body that was wrapped or placed in a container was indicative that the body had been transported. In addition, finding the victim nude was predictive of rape. We discuss the problems of following inaccurate beliefs, and the potential use of the accurate beliefs we identified.

Matching Faces to ID Photos: The Influence of Motivation on Crossrace Identification

Susa, K. J., Gause, C. A., Dessenberger, S. J.

Years of psychological research indicate people are poor at matching the identity of a person with an ID photo. Known as the cross-race effect, this inept ability is exacerbated when the to-be-identified individual comes from a race that is different than the perceiver's own-race. Using a task that mimics document screening procedures, the purpose of the present study was to determine if perceiver motivation moderates the cross-race effect in face matching accuracy and the calibration between confidence and accuracy. In line with the Categorization-Individuation Model, results indicated perceiver motivation is critical to enhancing accuracy, particularly for other-race faces. The results have important implications for officers' "on the look-out" for a suspect or for document screeners seeking to identify imposter IDs.