Explicit and implicit bias measures : their relation and utility as predictors of criminal verdict tendency

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica L Snowden (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Len Lecci

Abstract: The relations between explicit and implicit racial bias measures were examined in the present study, along with the predictive validity of these measures for juror verdict tendency for criminal case summaries as a function of case type and defendant ethnicity. Participants completed a general implicit racial bias measure, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and two explicit measures of racial bias, of which the Modern Racism Scale (MRS) was a general measure and of which the Racial Bias Scale (PJBQ-RB) of the Pretrial Juror Bias Questionnaire (PJBQ) was a legal specific measure. Participants read two criminal case summaries, the first of which was an assault case and the second of which was a robbery case. Defendant ethnicity (African American or European American) was varied between participants through the presentation of defendant photographs. Results demonstrated that explicit and implicit bias measures are related with one another, although the relations do not always emerge between the different types of bias measures or only between bias measures assessing the same construct. The more general MRS and IAT were significantly related to one another, while the more specific PJBQ-Race did not relate to the IAT. Additionally, the IAT measure was significantly related to several other legal bias measures that were not direct assessments of racial bias, indicating that perhaps implicit measures are not measuring an individual’s beliefs about racial bias so much as perhaps the degree to which an individual is aware of societal attitudes towards ethnic minority members. Both the PJBQ scales and the IAT predicted verdict tendency, although the specific results varied depending on both case type and defendant ethnicity. Predictive validity for the assault case was poor. The PJBQ scales displayed predictive validity for the robbery case across defendant ethnicity conditions, while the IAT had predictive utility solely when examining verdict tendency for specific defendant-case combinations. These findings demonstrate that although explicit and implicit measures are not entirely independent of each other, they do appear to be assessing largely independent constructs. Similarly, both explicit and implicit bias measures displayed evidence of their potential utility as predictors of juror verdict tendency for criminal cases.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts.
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Discrimination in criminal justice administration--United States, Jury--United States--Decision making, Trials--United States, Verdicts--Research--United States
Subjects
Verdicts -- Research -- United States
Jury -- United States -- Decision making
Trials -- United States
Discrimination in criminal justice administration -- United States