Date Approved

5-5-2009

Embargo Period

3-17-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Gaer, Eleanor

Subject(s)

Insanity defense; Jurors--Psychology

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

The investigator examined the relationship between jurors' locus of control and verdict. Three hypothetical insanity cases were constructed: mental illness, mental retardation, and drug intoxication, and were randomly distributed to 96 graduate students from a mid- Atlantic university. Participants read a murder vignette and selected a verdict-either guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). To measure locus of control, the investigator administered Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. As predicted, results indicated that participants' locus of control influenced their verdict and that internally oriented participants were more likely than externally oriented participants to choose the guilty verdict (p=.044). A significant difference was also found between extreme internals and externals (p=.041) on verdict. Additionally, measures conducted across participants' career orientation groups: Helping Profession, Legal, and Business, revealed significant differences between stereotypes of insanity on verdict (p=.033) and on verdict alone (p=.016). Helping Professionals were more likely to choose a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict than Business and Legal oriented participants. Business orientated participants, however, were most likely to render a not guilty verdict to a defendant with mental retardation if they knew someone from that stigmatized group.

Included in

Psychology Commons

Share

COinS