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The Effects of Religion and Stereotype Content on Verdicts and Sentence Severity When Defending Terror Charges

Description: School of Applied Sciences, Division of Psychology, London South Bank University Little evidence exists to test if a defendant's religion affects their verdict outcome or sentencing. The current study addresses this question and also tests the role of stereotype content as an explanatory variable. Participants (n=141) were presented with crimes which were either stereotypical of Muslims or not. Participants viewed details of a case resulting in either a terror or a theft charge, with a Muslim, Christian or Atheist suspect. Both being a Muslim and defending terror crimes led to more frequent guilty verdicts and more severe sentences. Muslims were perceived as more cold and competent. The colder and more competent suspects were perceived, the more likely they were to be found guilty and the more severe the sentence. Warm/cold evaluations mediated the effect of religion. These findings suggest that Muslim terror defendants may be affected by systematic bias in trials and that this may be driven by the stereotypes content.

Suggested Citation:
Frings, D., Rice, K., Albery, I.P. (2018). The Effects of Religion and Stereotype Content on Verdicts and Sentence Severity When Defending Terror Charges [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 14(1), 18.

Keywords: Jury; religion; terrorism; stereotypes; Muslim

Date: Jul 26, 2018 | File Size: 389.08 Kb | Downloads: 72

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