University of Twente Student Theses


The Impact of Physical Attractiveness, Gender of Defendants and Type of Crime on Sentencing Decisions

Ajoori, Timon J. (2023) The Impact of Physical Attractiveness, Gender of Defendants and Type of Crime on Sentencing Decisions.

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Abstract:The present study investigated the impact of physical attractiveness, gender of the defendant and the type of crime committed on sentencing decisions and whether the likability of the defendant, perceived positive or negative emotions, and the attitude towards gender roles moderated any of the effects. The experimental study consisted of a 2x2x2 factorial between-subjects design in which the independent variables were the attractiveness of the defendant, either attractive or unattractive; the gender of the defendant, male or female; and the type of crime they committed, either a burglary or a swindle. It was predicted that when the crime was attractiveness-unrelated (burglary), participants would assign more lenient sentences to the attractive defendant than to the unattractive defendant. However, when the offence was attractiveness-related (swindle), it was hypothesised that there will be no differences between attractive and unattractive defendants. Participants (N = 140) were randomly assigned to one of the eight conditions and were provided with a full face picture of their assigned defendant. Then they rated their initial emotions after perceiving the picture of the defendant and filled out a likability scale. Subsequently, participants read one fictional case vignette fitting their condition and had to assign a sentence length from 6 to 48 months to the defendant. Finally, their gender role beliefs were measured. The results demonstrated that there were no significant effects of attractiveness or type of crime on participants' sentencing decisions. However, female defendants received significantly shorter sentences than male defendants.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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