Purpose, Race, & Law: A Three Paper Dissertation

dc.contributor.authorCreim, Michael
dc.contributor.chairBurrow, Anthonyen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberWilliams, Wendyen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberCeci, Stephenen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHans, Valerieen_US
dc.description199 pagesen_US
dc.description.abstractMy research is focused on the interdisciplinary study of psychology and law. More specifically I am interested in exploring the psychology of race and racial bias, and the psychology of sense of purpose in life, through the lens of legal contexts. The theme of race is present in both Chapter 2 (Race in the Hiring of Law Professors and Perceptions of Fields of Law) and Chapter 4 (Race, Medical Malpractice, & Expert Testimony on Systemic Bias), while the theme of sense of purpose in life is present both in Chapter 3 (The Psychology and the Mens Rea of Purpose (and Goals)) and Chapter 4 (Race, Medical Malpractice, & Expert Testimony on Systemic Bias), and the theme of the law is present in different ways in each chapter. The three disparate strands of this dissertation weave a common thread. A thread which attempts to take what we know about the psychology of purpose and of race and apply it to legal contexts in a manner that advances the cause of society’s underdogs—victims of systemic bias, underrepresented groups in high-status positions, and impulsive traumatized children accused of Machiavellian malevolence. Abstract for Chapter 2: Race in the Hiring of Law Professors and Perceptions of Fields of LawIt is well documented that ethnic minorities are underrepresented among the ranks of professors in legal academia. There is much research documenting racial bias against minorities in low status entry level positions; however, some research has found the opposite trend evidencing favorability towards persons from underrepresented groups for high status positions. Little work has examined any interactions between applicant race and diversity features of the position. Specifically, in the legal context no previous work has examined perceived racial associations between the fields of law themselves and different ethnic categories. In Study 1 we found that legal fields do carry racial or ethnic associations, and the most prestigious fields are seen as the most White and Asian. In Study 2, we conducted a law faculty hiring study where 366 law professors evaluated a mock applicant. Our results indicated two identifiable subsets of participants, one of which significantly favored underrepresented minority applicants, and one of which responded in a manner more consistent with traditional bias findings. Study 2 also found that when controlling for prestige, racial associations for fields of law had no main effect impact on hiring decisions, but did interact with applicant racial group status (majority or minority). Abstract for Chapter 3: The Psychology and the Mens Rea of Purpose (and Goals)Though the model penal code and philosophy and law expect criminals to demonstrate increasing levels of purposefulness as crimes increase in severity this is often not the case. Through the application of the psychology of purpose (and of hierarchical goal systems) to the topic of mens rea we seek to bridge the chasm between this proscriptive description of the law and the legal realism descriptive finding that those accused of serious crimes are often impulsive adolescents and adults with a history of childhood trauma. We examine how psychological research on purpose and goals may be used to aid judges and jurors in understanding mens rea. We also address how issues important to purpose theory, such as the difference between purpose and meaning and the impact (or lack thereof) of whether purpose content is pro-social, may be disaggregated and explored in criminal law settings. Additionally, we provide two new scholarly resources to scholars interested in researching mens rea. In Part II we provide data visualizations of the most important literature on the topic of mens rea, allowing interdisciplinary scholars to more easily expand beyond their home disciplines, and in Part VIII we provide a table documenting the formulations of mens rea used by each of the 50 states. Abstract for Chapter 4: Race, Medical Malpractice, & Expert Testimony on Systemic BiasMedicine is a field of great importance, but, like many fields, it is not immune to the problem of racial bias. And since medicine has this problem, it begs the question, what role does the law of medical malpractice play here? Our paper seeks to address this inquiry. Additionally, we discuss the role of the experimenter and other ostensibly neutral authority figures like judges and how they may affect observed outcomes. We find that in medical malpractice settings expert witness testimony can increase the likelihood that ethnic minority victims of systemic bias prevail in the courtroom when seeking redress and that expert witness testimony is particularly persuasive for jurors with a strong sense of purpose in life (p < .05). Furthermore, the race of the trial judge may impact liability decisions (p < .05), particularly among men (p < .05). For in-lab studies experimenter race may interact with independent variable race manipulations to affect decision certainty (p < .05).en_US
dc.rightsAttribution 4.0 International*
dc.subjectMedical Malpracticeen_US
dc.subjectMens Reaen_US
dc.titlePurpose, Race, & Law: A Three Paper Dissertationen_US
dc.typedissertation or thesisen_US
dcterms.license Development University of Philosophy D., Human Development


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