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Gender and Morality-Based Judgments In and Out of the Courtroom

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Abstract

In and outside of legal settings, judgments and decisions are made on a daily basis based on an individual’s gender or cultural group. Legally, gender can affect jurors’ perceptions of case facts, their deliberation behavior, and final verdicts. Gender is also especially relevant in sexual misconduct cases, influencing a victim’s decision to report an incident or pursue legal action, or shaping jurors’ and judges’ perceptions of culpability and forgiveness. In a non-legal context,decisions we make in response to morally ambiguous situations can be influenced by cultural ideals. This dissertation examines the role of juror gender in the prosecution of sexual misconduct cases, and in civil jury dynamics and decisions. It also examines the role of culture in moral decision-making. The first paper of this thesis explores the phenomenon of Himpathy – or excessive sympathy afforded onto male perpetrators of sexual misconduct – in the context of sexual harassment. It finds that sexist attitudes against women are associated with heightened trust, forgiveness, and sympathy towards a male perpetrator, and lower trust and sympathy towards a female victim. The second paper explores the role of juror gender in shaping deliberation dynamics and liability and damage award decisions. Juror gender did not affect rates of interruptions or mentions of numeric information during a deliberation, or individual damage award estimates. The final paper explores the role of culture and the presence of a loved one in solving moral quandaries. It provides evidence that Chinese participants are more likely to save a set of strangers over their loved one in the face of death, but that this preference does not hold for situations involving emotional or economic losses.

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115 pages

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2021-08

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Keywords

civil juries; empathy; gender; juries; moral decision-making; psychology and law

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Committee Chair

Ceci, Stephen John

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Hans, Valerie
Ferguson, Melissa J.

Degree Discipline

Human Development

Degree Name

Ph. D., Human Development

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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