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Evaluating the criminal offender

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Title:
Evaluating the criminal offender the effects of offenders Ì“socio-economic status, academic achievement and color on personality attributions and sentencing
Creator:
Peterson-Lewis, Sonja Marie
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 82 leaves : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Criminal offenses ( jstor )
Criminal sentencing ( jstor )
Criminals ( jstor )
Defendants ( jstor )
Educational evaluation ( jstor )
Guilt ( jstor )
Observational research ( jstor )
Recommendations ( jstor )
Sentenced offenders ( jstor )
Social psychology ( jstor )
African American criminals ( lcsh )
Criminal justice, Administration of ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF
Psychology thesis Ph. D
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1983.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 78-81).
Additional Physical Form:
Also available online.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis.

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
0030325108 ( ALEPH )
11412343 ( OCLC )

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EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER:
THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS'SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND COLOR ON
PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING


BY


SONJA MARIE PETERSON-LEWIS





















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1993






























Copyright 1983

by

Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis






























Dedicated to Marie Peterson-Lewis














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My gratitude is extended to my committee chairman, Dr. Marvin E. Shaw, whose sense of psychology, humanity, and humor have made him a

valuable asset. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Richard R. Scott, who, on innumerable occasions, put aside his own work to assist me with mine. Thank you. I wish also to thank Dr. Larry Severy, Dr. Rodman Webb, and Dr. Franz Epting for their encouragement.

T am appreciative to yearbook editors Michael Johnson, Leon

McCombs, and photographer Whitney Young of Ediard Waters College, Florida A & M University, and Morehouse College, respectively, for their assistance and advice in my efforts to conduct this study.

I would like to thank Dr. G. W. Mingo, Director of the University

of Florida Division of Special Services and Upward Bound Program, for providing the yearbooks from which the photographs for this study were taken. I also thank my experimenters Midge Schwartz, Bill Coughlin, and David Posey.

To innumerable other persons who have been sources of friendship throughout, thank you.













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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................. iv

ABSTRACT ......................................................... vii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............................................. 1

2 THE PROPOSED STUDY ....................................... 18

Design of the Study .................................... 18

Method ................................................. 19

Subjects ............................................. 19

Materials ............................................ 19

Procedure ............................................ 22

3 RESULTS ............... .................................. 24

Preliminary Procedures 24

Manipulations Check .................................... 24

Major Analyses ......................................... 26

4 DISCUSSION ............................................... 41

APPENDICES

A EXPERIMENTER SCRIPT ...................................... 53

B CRIME REPORT FORM ........................................ 59

C OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM ............... : ......... 68

D PERSONALITY PROFILE ...................................... 71

E SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION 73



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F POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET .................................... 76

BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................... 78

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................. 82

















































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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER: THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS' SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND COLOR ON PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING By

Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis

August 1983

Chairman: Dr. Marvin E. Shaw
1,1ajor Department: Psycholog

This laboratory experiment examined the effects of Black alleged criminal offenders' socio-economic status (SES), academic achievement, and skin color on the personality and criminal attributes White undergraduate males and females assigned to these alleged offenders. The influence of these variables on subjects' subsequent sentence recommendations was also examined. It was predicted that offenders who were high in SES, high in achievement, and light in complexion would be assigned

more positive attributes and sentenced less severely than those who were low in SES, low in achievement, and dark in complexion.

Subjects were given a photograph of a Black male who was an alleged

drug offender. The photograph was attached to a bogus crime report which provided bogus SES and academic achievement (grade-point average) information. Socio-economic. status and achievement scores were either high or low, and alleged offenders' complexion was either light or dark. Each

subject rated one stimulus person on 30 dispositional items, 25 personality items, and recommended one of 15 sentences that ranged in severity from life imprisonment to community service.



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The dispositional items and the personality items were submitted to factor analysis. A Criminality factor reflecting criminal motivation

and a Virtues factor reflecting personal virtues emerged from the dispositional items and personality items, respectively. Results showed that high achievers were perceived as having lower criminal motivations and higher personal virtues than low achievers. The mean sentence recommendation for low achievers was significantly higher than that for hig i achievers.

A significant interaction between achievement and color was present such that light complexioned offenders received polarized (extreme) virtue ratings depending on their achievement level. Light complexioned high achievers received high positive ratings while light complexioned low achievers received low negative ratings. Dark complexioned offenders were given relatively moderate ratings with high achievers being rated

more positively than low achievers. No effect of SES was found.

The findings are discussed in terms of the implicit personality theory and ascribed vs. achieved status.





















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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION


Social psychological research has frequently focused upon the effects of stimulus person variables on the attributions observers make about the stimulus person. The particular characteristics focused upon

are determined by the researchers' purposes. For example, in studies of liking behavior, the focus has often been on physical appearance (Berscheid and Walster, 1974; Dion, Berscheid and Waister, 1972; and Walster, Aronson, Abrahamns and Pottnan, 1966). Generally speaking, the findings from this

research demonstrate that the greater the attractiveness of the stimulus person, the more positive will be the overall evaluations given that stimulus person by observers, and the greater the degree of linking expressed for that stimulus person.

Similarly, the role of perceived attitude similarity has been observed (Byrne, 1971; Byrne and Nelson, 1965; and Newcomb, 1961), as has the role of economic similarity (Byrne, Clore and Worchell, 1966). Results from this research have shown that the more similar observers perceive others to be to themselves, the greater the degree of liking observers express for those others.

Another area of person perception that has received a considerable amount of attention, and the one with which this study is concerned, is the area of criminal evaluation and sentencing. Both laboratory and field research have been undertaken to determine the effects of offender or defendant-variables on jurors' decisions. Generally, in labora tory

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research of this type, individual subjects or groups of subjects must make two decisions. First, they must decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the crime with which he/she is charged. If the defendant is found guilty, subjects must then recommend sentence or level of punishment.

A variety of factors can affect the judgement of guilt or nonguilt and the sentence recommendation. Many of these factors are directly related to interpersonal attraction and person perception. Efran (1974)

found that the physical attractiveness of the defendant played an important role in determining whether the offender was adjudicated guilty or not guilty. Attractive defendants were less likely to be found guilty

than were unattractive defendants. Even when found guilty, attractive defendants were likely to be given a less severe sentence than an unattractive counterpart. Sigall and Ostrove (1975) found that this sentencing tendency held true unless the defendant had used his/her attractiveness in committing the crime.

Once a defendant has been judged guilty, the task of recommending a sentence or level of punishment is at hand. Depending on the type of

crime, jurors or subjects may have at their discretion a wide range of sentencing possibilities. A variety of variables other than physical

attractiveness have been found to influence sentencing decisions in both laboratory and real jury studies.

Hemphill (1978) asserts that some of the factors that can affect sentence severity are (1) type of crime, (2) offender's previous record,

(3) offender's age, (4) family background and family stability, (5) whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether the crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or part





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of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that the offender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be rehabilitated.

Congruent with Hemphill's view, Tedeschi and Lindskold (1976)

propose that the degree of punishment given a defendant may be based on

subjective predictions about the receptivity of the defendant to a particular type of punishment. Thus, background, previous offenses, status, and a variety of other offender variables may influence the decisions an evaluator makes about an offender.

Thornberry (1973),in a study of judicial sentencing of juvenile

offenders, found that Blacks and low socio-economic status (SES) persons

tend to be sentenced more harshly than non-Blacks and higher status persons. Thornberry contends that when the number of offenses and the type of crime is held constant, racial and status differences do not disappear. Bullock (1961) contended that the harsher sentencing of Blacks may be motivated by the desire to protect the order of the larger community. The indication here is that the persons making sentencing decisions perceive the Black offender as a threat to tradition or order of the larger community.

Ebbesen and Konecni (1981), while acknowledging the array of research that has demonstrated the effects of variables such as social background, social status, family connections, etc., on sentencing,

concluded that there is little evidence that these variables are active in judicial sentencing decisions. Their coding and examination of a large number of sentencing hearings led them to the conclusion that the

only three factors consistently influencing sentencing decisions were

(1) severity of the crime, (2) offenders' previous offenses, and (3)





4


whether the defendant was or was not eligible for release on bail following arrest. Ebbesen and Konecni contend that though judges discuss such variables as offender's family connections and occupational status, such discussions were not related to the offender's sentence. The researchers contend that sentencing hearings in which the judge hears the defense and the prosecuting attorney's perceptions of the offender are

merely a "show" that serves to obscure the real factors influencing sentencing and serves to further advance the myth of individualized justice.

It is highly possible that Ebbesen and Konecni's findings differ markedly from other field and laboratory studies because of their dependence on judges' verbalization of ideas. It is possible that judges' experiences with crime and criminal offenders, their knowledge of the law, and their ability to adhere strictly to legal information led to their ultimate sentencing decisions. However, it is also possible that Ebbesen and Konecni's findings differ so markedly from other field and laboratory research because even though a judge may have considered certain extra-legal variables in arriving at his/her sentencing decision,

he/she may have chosen not to verbalize those variables. This choice could be a conscious or subconscious one, and could be motivated by the judges' desire to appear unbiased. There is also the fact that judges realize their decisions are binding and open to public scrutiny and criticism. Subjects in a laboratory study are invariably aware that they are not really judges, and their decisions, though perhaps based on

their attitudes and beliefs about the offender's need for punishment, are not binding. The pressure to appear unbiased may not be as strong with laboratory subjects as with real judges. Thus, subjects my be





5


less inhibited in openly basing their decisions about offenders on extralegal variables. Though social desirability of response is a factor in laboratory research, it is perhaps just as roch a factor in judicial sentencing dispositions. It may be that it is easier to trace subjects' decisions back to a set of factors than it is to trace real jurors or judges' decisions. Subjects more often leave some type of concrete path (an offender rating sheet, for example), than do jurors or judges. Typically, judges are not asked to rate the offender on a set of variables assumed to be related to sentencing. It rray be that consideration of such variables does occur. However, since judges are not obligated to verbalize or document these, and since they might prefer that these be unknown, it can not be definitively concluded that such variables do not mediate sentencing decisions. It is possible that though studies of subjects in laboratories do not always produce results identical or predictive of those in the courtroom, laboratory studies do allow us to

take a better look at the variables that mediate courtroom decisions.

Ebbesen and Konecni's conclusions are contrary to an abundance of social science research that addresses person perception and decisionmaking in the context of criminal evaluations, as well as evaluations in other situations. There is strong evidence from general person perception research t;hat supports the view that seemingly irrelevant person variables influence observers' evaluations and decisions about stimulus persons. An examination of some of the research not directly related

to criminal evaluations is beneficial to understanding why certain variables have an influence on attribution and decisions.

One of the most popular variables in social research has been race. Allen (1976) concluded that the high visibility of race is the factor







6


that makes it such a potent variable. In a study of liking behavior as a function of race of the stimulus person, Allen found that his subjects (White males and females) tended to group all racially different (Black) stimulus persons into an "unattractive" category, regardless of the level of pre-judged attractiveness of each stimulus person. This effect was especially prevalent for White females rating Black males.

It appears that the subjects in Allen's study discounted physical attractiveness as an antecedent to liking when the stimulus person was an out-group member. Had Allen's subjects been asked to complete a profile of their expected personality and behavioral characteristics of each stimulus person, it might have been possible to determine whether subjects expected Black stimulus persons to possess objectionable characteristics and therefore rejected them, or whether Black stimulus persons were rejected solely on the basis of their racial dissimilarity to the subjects. It may be that Allen's subjects were responding to a perceived social norm dictating that out-group members not be considered

for more than casual associations, or it is possible that subjects possessed a negative social image of Blacks, thereby leading to their rejection.

Butt and Signori (1976) demonstrated that beliefs about the group or groups to which a stimulus person belongs can influence observers' evaluations of individual stimulus persons. Butt and Signori examined the impact of the social images of eight groups on hiring decisions. Two groups (average adults and women) were used as baselines by which to compare the attributes ascribed to six other groups. These six groups were mental retardates, ex-mental patients, ex-criminals, hippies,





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North American Indians, and Black Americans. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the social images of these groups affected the

plight of individual group members in hiring situations. It was found that subjects held certain beliefs and attitudes about individuals based

on the group membership. Six major factors were extracted from the study. These were (1) appearance (individual applicant should be pleasant to

the eye), (2) sincerity (individual should be compassionate, kind, honest, etc.), (3) ability (individual should be intelligent, talented, sensitive, and should have a sense of humor), (4) outspokenness (individual should be low in bragging, gossip, and vanity and hiF i in modesty and reticence), (5) fortitude (individual should display strength, courage, independence, etc.), and (6) security (individual should appear unworried, contented, and serene).

As was hypothesized, the categories Average Adults received high

scores on each factor. The highest score for this group was in appearance, fortitude, and security. Women received high scores on appearance, security, sincerity, and creative ability, but compared to average adults, women were disadvantaged in two categories. Women were rated as hig

in outspokenness and extremely low in fortitude. Blacks received relatively neutral ratings on all factors. However, subjects gave Blacks negative ratings on appearance and Blacks received hig ily negative

security ratings.

It should be noted that Butt and Signori did not use photographic representations or other representation of the stimulus groups. The

investigation relied strictly upon the mental images subjects had of each group.





8


Although their predominate interest was in hiring practices, the Butt and Signori study has implications for many forms of social interaction. Depending upon the situation, certain combinations of the six factors identified in the study may become of greater or lesser importance. Employer-employee relations may make one set of factors salient (e.g.,ability, fortitude, and appearance), while teacher-pupil relationships may center around other factors (e.g.,ability and outspokenness). Decisions regarding the sentencing of criminal offenders may make yet another set of variables salient (e.g.,sincerity, or ability as it relates to one's potential to create a crime-free life for oneself).

The relationship between actual or implied social images of a

stimulus person and subjects' behavior toward that stimulus person does not necessarily follow a readily predictable order. Dovidio and Gaertner (1 77),in an investigation of how race, status, and ability of a stimulus person affect helping behavior of subjects toward that stimulus person,

found that White male subjects helped confederate Black subordinates regardless of ability more often than they helped Black supervisors.

Subjects helped White confederates on the basis of ability, with high ability supervisors receiving greatest help and low ability subordinates receiving least help. Thus, subjects seemed to favor working with Black subordinates over Black supervisors, even when the ability of the

confederate subordinate was higher than the subjects' abilities. However, subjects seemed to favor Whites on the basis of ability, and high ability White confederates elicited more help than low ability White

confederates, regardless of status. Dovidio and Gaertner concluded that the threat of traditional role reversal, rather than beliefs about ability differences, is a major force underlying much of the resistance

to affirmative action programs.





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It appears apparent from the Dovidio and Gaertner (1977) study discussed above that even though certain factors evolve as important in certain kinds of interactions (intergroup or business, for example), those factors do not necessarily operate identically for Blacks and Whites. In some cases, completely different factors may be operative as was the case in Dovidio and Gaertner's study. In other cases, it is possible that different levels of identical factors (interactions)

operate for Blacks and Whites.

Dients')ier (1970) found that the evaluations received by Black

and White stimulus persons on the basis of bogus personal data profiles were not identical across levels of the social desirability of the profiles. Blacks with socially desirable characteristics were evaluated more positively and liked more than Whites with identical socially desirable characteristics. Blacks with socially undesirable characteristics were liked less than Whites with socially undesirable characteristics. Evaluations of Black stimulus persons by White subjects

tended to be. exaggerated or polarized. Subjects saw positive trait Blacks as being very good and negative trait Blacks as being very bad, while White stimulus persons with similar traits received moderate

ratings. Mis finding may explain in part why it is often assumed that a Black offender facing an all-White jury is more likely to receive a harsh sentence than a White offender accused of the same crime. Assuming that being an accused criminal is a socially undesirable characteristic, it follows that a Black offender might be viewed more negatively by White jurors perhaps because of fear, perceived threat, etc.,) than a White offender.





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Linville and Jones (1980) have developed and tested a model that purports to explain the extreme (polarized) appraisals given to outgroup members. The researchers propose that persons rating out-group (dissimilar) members and in-group (similar) members with identical credentials will tend to evaluate the out-group member more extremely. The direction of the evaluation should depend on the positivity or negativity of the information.

In a series of studies testing their model, Linville and Jones' predictions were confirmed. A Black law school applicant with strong credentials was judged more favorably on 16 bipolar adjectives than a White applicant with identical credentials. When both the Black and White applicant's credentials were weak, the Black applicant was rated

more negatively than the White applicant. These results were duplicated when females were used as the out-group.

One explanation proposed by Linville and Jones as to why out-group evaluations proved more extreme than evaluations of in-group evaluations is that the subjects (White males) had a more complex schema (greater familiarity) of in-group applicants and tended to mix their evaluations

of the in-group members I credentials, seeing them as neither all good nor all bad. Judgements of out-group members, on the other hand, are made solely on the basis of the information given because the subject may actually know very little about these group members other than what is provided by the credentials sheet. Because of this lack of familiarity, more weight is given to the provided information. This results in evaluative extremity.

Linville and Jones place their study in the context of affirmative action programs. Depending on an observer's conceptualization or schema





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of those benefiting from affirmative action, the observer my be expected to differentially evaluate the adequacy, competency, or qualifications of those individuals for certain situations (e.g.,law school

admission). The direction of the evaluation depends on the activation of one of two attribution principles. Kel ly's (1971) augmentation principle would predict that observers, in evaluating a strong positive credentials sheet of an out-group memberwould construe that group member as having overcome tremendous obstacles to arrive at his/her level of achievement. Affirmative action programs would be seen as only of minor, if any, help to the individual. 7he out-group member would be given extreme positive ratings in motivation, ability, etc. However, Jones and Davis' (1965) discounting principle would predict that the role of some factors in bringing about an event (e.g.,admission to law school) may be discounted if other possible causes are present. Thus, in evaluating an out-group law school applicant, the observer my either perceive internal factors such as motivation and ability as being the basis of the applicant's admission, or the observer my perceive external factors such as admission criteria as being the basis for admission. The salience of affirmative action programs may lead the observer to discount internal factors and focus instead on the role of affirmative action in the applicant's admission. The subsequent evaluation of the out-group applicant should reveal low or less positive perceptions of the applicant's credentials than those of an in-group member with identical credentials who is not perceived as benefiting from external factors.

Linville and Jones' research is relevant to the evaluation of

criminal offenders. If evaluators view the offense as being internally





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motivated, it would follow that they would be more likely to conclude that the offender has- a criminal disposition. Heider (1958) proposed

that a given outcome depends on a combination of personal force and environmental force. The greater the degree of personal force observers perceive on the part of a criminal offender, the more likely observers

are to believe that the behavior that led to the outcome was internally motivated, and that the behavior tells something about the actor as opposed to the environment.

It follows from Heider's conceptualization. that the greater the observer's belief that an act was internally motivated, the more the observers should hold the actor personally responsible for that act, and the greater should be the observer's belief that the offender should

be punished for his act. The greater the transgression, the greater should be the desire to punish and the extent of the punishment.

Some research has shown that even though an individual may be

guilty of an offense, there are certain variables that can lead evaluators to conclude that one offender does not need to be punished as severely as another offender. Landy and Aronson (1969) found that the

social status of the offender played an important role in subjects' perceptions of the degree of punishment appropriate for the offender. High and medium status offenders received less severe sentence recommendations than did low status offenders. Austin, Walster and Utne (1976) found that offenders who were presumed to have suffered in the course of a harmful act received less severe sentence recommendations than offenders who were not believed to have suffered.

Kalven and Zeisel (1966) concluded that those who are believed to regret their crimes are viewed more positively by the jurors and





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tend to receive less severe sentence recommendations. These results seem to strongly suggest that jurors make assumptions about the offender's character on the basis of his/her status, and these assumptions are more positive-for high status than low status persons.

When taken together, the research results discussed here seem to indicate that a stimulus person's physical appearance, group membership, social image, and race are all highly important factors in the attribution and evaluation process. Observers in a variety of situations ranging from liking studies to criminal sentencing appear to be willing to base a number of decisions on these person variables. Rewards and punishment appear to be mediated in many cases by the observer's assessment of these variables and the meaning observers attach to these variables. It appears highly appropriate to conclude that when observers have no information about a stimulus person other than the physical appearance, unattractive persons and members of stigmatized groups are negatively evaluated. When personal or background information is given, the evaluation tends to assume the direction of the information--that is, ratings become polarized. Generally, positive information results in

positive evaluations while negative information results in negative evaluations. Out-group members with positive characteristics are evaluated more positively than in-group members with identical characteristics, but more negatively than in-group members when both have negative characteristics.

Most of the research on the effects of offender variables on observers' evaluations appears to have focused on either in-group vs. outgroup evaluations or on in-group members with positive characteristics vs. in-group members with negative characteristics or same combination





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of this type. Very little research seem to have addressed the variables affecting the evaluation of two or more out-groups. This is perhaps because of the strong effects variables such as race have had in yielding significant differences between groups. The focus on race may have obscured the importance of other variables. In a great deal of research, there appears to be an implicit assumption that observers only differentiate between groups and not within groups. A substantial amount of research has shown, however, that this is not the case. There is evidence of evaluation differences based on intra-racial variables as well.

A primary example of possible differences in intra-racial evaluations is revealed in the work of a number of researchers who have reported that Black subjects show a tendency to assign positive characteristics

to lighter Blacks and to assign less positive and even negative traits and characteristics to darker-skinned Black persons (Anderson and Cromwell, 1976; Brown, 1970; Davenport, 1969; Johnson, 1S67: and Marks, 1943'. Skin color therefore appears to be a rather potent person variable among Blacks. (It is altogether probable that among other ethnic groups, the skin color variable as well as other physical attribute

variables operatEs to dif ferentially affect observers I responses toward members of those groups.)

Among Black Americans, skin color has been an issue of great egoinvolvement because opportunities and concessions afforded Black Americans were often based on skin color, with lighter-skinned Blacks in many instances being afforded greater opportunities and concessions than darker Blacks. According to social judgement theory (Sherif and Hovland, 1961), the degree of importance an issue has with an individual determines the





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degree of discrimination the individual makes within categories concerning that issue. Therefore, one might expect Blacks to be more sensitive than Whites to differences in skin shades among Blacks, and to possibly attribute different characteristics to other Blacks on the basis of.skin

color. It is interesting to note that to date, there appears to be little data available on the sensitivity of Whites to skin color variations among Blacks.

In addition to person variables such as skin color which may affect observers' evaluation of stimulus persons, the evaluation ray also be

affected by the nature of the proposed outcomes.

Depending on the situation, outcomes may range from very positive (such as being accepted into the professional school of one's choice)

to very negative (being sentenced to the electric chair). When evaluators are asked to indicate their perceptions of a stimulus person on a variety of measures and to make some type of decision regarding that stimulus person, it would appear that the ultimate decision would be in some way related to the ratings given that person. The more positive the perception of the stimulus, the more positive should be the ratings and the ultimate decision. Observers should be motivated to recommend positive outcomes for persons they perceive positively, and negative or less positive outcomes for persons they perceive negatively.

In the context of the evaluation and sentencing of a criminal offender, it appears evident that the evaluator must consider at least three factors. These are (1) the crime, (2) the individual accused of the crime, and (3) the range of options or sentences available for the crime. If, across offenders, the type of crime and the range of sentencing options are held constant, it follows that any





16


discrepancy in evaluations and sentencing would be attributable to the

evaluator's perception of the offender. Sentencing can be discrepant only to the extent that the type of crime allows it to be. Thus, the type of crime with which the offender is charged must be one that will

allow the use of discretion on the part of the evaluator. The optimal type of crime to use in this situation is the category of crimes called "victimless" crimes. These allow use of discretion because depending on the evaluator's perception of the offender's intent, a very severe or a very lenient sentence may be imposed. A crime that seems optimal for these purposes is drug trafficking. This act is criminal as defined by most state statutes. However, it is often referred to as a victimless crime because persons involved in the use of drugs are assumed to be so because they chose to be. Responsibility for the act rests with the person who sells the drug, or the person who buys it. Depending on evaluators' view of the offender, it is conceivable that

the level of recommended punishment nay vary from very severe to very lenient.

The present study proposes to examine the effects of three nonlegal offender variables, socio-economic status (SES), academic achievement, and skin color on the evaluations subjects give Black alleged offenders on a variety of measures research has claimed to be associated with sentencing outcomes.

In view of the research findings reviewed in this chapter, the following predictions have been made:

Hypothesis 1. Low SES offenders will be rated more negatively

than higher SES offenders. Subjects will perceive the low SES offender as more of an example of a "real criminal" than hig ier SES offenders.





17


Hypothesis 2. The lower evaluations of the low SES offenders will be positively related to their receiving -more severe sentences than higher SES offenders.

Hypothes is 3. Low achievers will be more negatively evaluated than hig i achievers.

Hypothesis 4. The lower evaluation of low achievers will be

positively related to their receiving more severe sentences than high achievers.

Hypothesis 5. Black subjects will show a tendency to differentiate on the basis of color such that less positive characteristics are assigned to darker Blacks than to lighter Blacks.*

Hypothesis 6. Females will impose harsher sentences than males.



























*One of the original goals of this study was to compare the responses of Black and White subjects to the skin color variable. However, due to the small number of Black subjects available, this comparison could not be made, and Hypothesis 5 could not be tested.














CHAPTER 2

THE PROPOSED STUDY

The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of the socio-economic status, academic achievement, and skin color of a Black male who is an alleged criminal offender on (1) the dispositional and personality characteristics subjects assigned to the individual and (,2)

the severity of the sentence recommended for the individual by subjects.

Design of the Study

Two levels of each of the three offender variables (socio-economic

status, academic achievement, and color) were employed in the present study. The combination of these variables formed a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial or eight-condition design. The eight conditions were

(a) High SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 111)

(b) High SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 121) (c) Low SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 211)

(d) Low SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 221)

(e) High SES, HigP Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 112) (f) High SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion 'Code 122) (g) Low SES, High Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 212) (h) Low SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 222).

In addition to the offender variables, the subject variable, sex, was of primary interest. The major dependent variables were (1) group scores on the items comprising the factor derived from the Offender Disposition Scale, (2) group scores on the items comprising the factor derived from the Personality Profile, and (3) the sentence recommendation.
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Method

Subjects

Participants were 197 undergraduate students at the University of

Florida. One hundred and eig1ty-seven of these were General Psychology students who completed the study as part of an experimental participation requirement. The renraining 10 participants were Black students who cornpie ted the study on a voluntary, non-credit basis. Due to the small number of Black subjects available, data for the 10 volunteers and data for six Black General Psychology students were not submitted to analysis. Due to missing data, fourteen of the remaining cases were excluded. Final participants were thus 167 White male and female students enrolled in General Psychology. This number represents 85 males and 92 females.

MIaterials

Preparation of the stimulus packets. Black-and-white photographs of Black males were obtained from an out-cf-state college yearbook. Due to the color variable in the study, selection was restricted to photographs of persons who were clearly dark or clearly ligt in complexion.

Photographs were rated by three independent judges on a scale of one to seven on attractiveness, and those photographs with similar mean attractiveness ratings were retained. Four males of dark complexion and four males of light complexion were retained.

From additional copies of the yearbook, three additional photographs of each stimulus person were obtained. Thus, there were four photographs of each stimulus person. Each of the stimulus persons within each color group was paired with each of the four SES X Achievement combinations. The purpose of this arrangement was to minimize the probability of evaluations being contingent upon the pairing of any





20


one stimulus person with one SES X Achievement combination. Each packet was distributed an equal number of times across nale and females by each experimenter.

Content of the stimulus packets. Photographs were attached to a bogus crime report sheet. This sheet provided false personal infonTation (height, weight, age) about the stimulus person (offender), the crime with which the individual was charged (cocaine trafficking in each case), parental occupations, hobbies and pastime activities, and college grade-point average. A sample crime report is given in Appendix B.

Rating materials used in the present study included (1) a 30-item Offender Disposition Rating scale on which subjects indicated their beliefs about the offender's disposition. The items were composed on

the basis of research on the variables that purportedly influence judicial sentencing decisions. As reviewed in the introduction, Hemphill (1978) lists these variables as (1) type of crime, 121, offender's previous offenses, (3) offender's age, (4) family connections and perceived ability of the family members to provide guidance for the offender,

(5) whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether the crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or part of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that the offender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be rehabilitated. Though they argue against the impact of these, Ebbesen and Konecni (1981) note that such factors as (1) social background, and

(2) personal and psychological characteristics of the offender are often reputed to be taken into account by judges in their sentencing decisions.





21


The content of the Offender Disposition items is based on these variables, with the exception of the type of crime, offender's previous record, and offender's age, since these three were held constant in the present study. The purpose of including these item was to determine if the offenders' SES, achievement, and color would affect subjects' perceptions of the offenders with regard to the dispositions reflected in the item The Offender Disposition items appear in Appendix C.

Each stimulus packet also contained a 25-item. Personality Profile consisting of 25 adjectives on which subjects rated the offenders. The item were chosen on the basis of their relationship to the factors purported to influence judicial sentencing. These factors were compared to subscales of the California Personality Inventory, and adjectives from the subscales were selected on the basis of the relevance to criminal evaluation. The subscales "socialization," "poise, ascendancy, and selfassurance," and "achievement potential" account for the inclusion of 18 items. The remaining ten items were chosen from a list of adjectives,

and these reflect general personality characteristics related to basic personality or demeanor. The purpose of the Personality Profile items was to determine if subjects held different perceptions about the offenders' personalities on the basis of offenders' SES, achievement, and color.

Although test-retest reliability for the CPI has been calculated

as being between .57 and .77, these figures are not applicable here since the CPI was not used in its entirety. The Personality Profile appears in Appendix D.

Sentencing recommendation. The 15 sentencing levels included on the Sentence Recommendation sheet were developed to provide subjects





22


with a plausible range of punishment for the crime with which the offender was charged. The imprisonment terms and fine recommended by State Stature were included, and sentences above and below this term were provided. An asterisk indicated the State's mandatory sentence. Sentences ranged from life imprisonment without chance of parole to community service. The Sentence Recommendation form appears in Appendix E.

Post-session questionnaire. A three-item Post-Session Questionnaire was included. The purpose of the questionnaire was to determine

(1) the extent to which the subject believed the offender was guilty of the crime with which he was charged, (2) the extent to which this belief affected the subject's rating of the offender on the Offender Disposition Rating and Personality Profile items, and (3) the extent to which this belief affected the sentence the subject recommended for the offender.

Finally, a personal data sheet was included to determine the subject's sex, race, classification, grade-point average, parental occupation and parent's estirsted income.

Experimenters. Two White mle undergraduates and one White female undergraduate served as experimenters for the study. The number of cases submitted to analysis for experimenters 1 (male), 2 (male), and 3 (female) were 55, 41, and 71, respectively, with an approximately equal number of male and female subjects represented in each total. Analyses conducted to detect effects due to experimenters are reported in the Results section.

Procedure

Upon arrival at the laboratory, subjects were seated together at a table. The experimenter explained that the purpose of the study was to evaluate the necessity of an extensive training program in offender





23


evaluation and sentencing. They were told that the chief concern of the researcher was whether untrained college students could make evaluations and sentencing recommendations that were as discerning and as valid as those made by the extensively trained persons. The complete Experimenter Script is given in Appendix A.

After responding to questions subjects may have had about the task, the experimenter handed each subject a sealed packet containing the crime report (with photograph attached), and the rating scales. Each subject was seated in a private booth with a curtain.

Following completion of the ratings, the Post-Session Questionnaire and personal data sheet were administered. Upon completion of these,

subjects were again seated together and debriefed by the experimenter. Any remaining questions were answered, and subjects were dismissed.














CHAPTER a

RESULTS

Preliminary Procedures


Due to incidents of missing data and an unequal number of subjects having been retained across experimenters, the present data were analyzed using procedures especially equipped to analyze unbalanced designs. The General Linear Models (GLM) procedures as described in the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) User's Guide (pp. 23 7 -263, 1979) was employed in all analysis of variance procedures, and least squares means rather than arithmetic means were computed for the various groups. The GLM procedure provides computational methods that estimate missing values so as to avoid bias due to imbalance.

Prior to analysis, three groups of respondent variables were collapsed to facilitate interpretation of results. The four classification groups (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) were collapsed to form two groups with freshmen and sophomores comprising group I and juniors and seniors comprising group 2. Income levels were collapsed as follows: level A = Group 1, B and C = Group 2, D and F = Group 3, F and G = Group 4, H and I = Group 5, J and K = Group 6, and L = Group 7. Grade-point average groups were collapsed so as to form four groups with A = Group 1, B, C, and D = Group 2, E and F = Group 3, and G = Group 4.

Manipulations Check

In order to determine the salience of the socio-economic status and achievement manipulations, group scores on Offender Disposition 24





25


Report (ODR) item 7 comes from a weak family background.11)

and ODR item 20 (11 . is a considerably intelligent person-") were submitted as dependent measures in an GLM analysis of variance procedure.

The model for item 7 was highly significant overall, F (7, 161) 20-34, p < 0.001. Examination of the sources of variation showed that socio-economic status was hig ly significant, F (1, 161) = 126-75, p <

0.001. The mean for low socio-economic status offenders was 2.36 on this item while the mean for high socio-economic status offenders was

4.27, where a score of one indicated subjects strongly believed the item was true of the offender and a score of five indicated strong disbelief. Educational achievement was also significant on this item, though not as highly significant as SES, F (1, 161) = 8.21, p < .005. The mean for high achievers was 3.56, while the mean for low achievers was 3.06. These means indicate that high achievers were less likely to be rated as being from a weak family background than were low achievers.

The overall model for item 20 was also highly significant, F (1, 161) = 81.69, p < .001. The mean for high achievers was 1.79 and 3.28

for low achievers, with a score of one indicating that subjects strongly believed the attribute (intelligent) was true of the offender and a score of five indicating strong disbelief. Thus, high achievers were rated as being more intelligent than low achievers. There was also a significant effect of SES on this item such that high SES offenders were perceived more positively (more intelligent) than low SES offenders. The mean for high SES offenders was 2.36 and 2.71 for low SES offenders.

The results of the manipulation check indicate that subjects were aware of the family background and achievement information given for each offender. The results also seem to indicate that subjects not only





26


made an assumption about the offender's background on the basis of the parental occupation information, but also about the offender's intellect on the basis of parental occupation. Thus, high SES offenders' mean score on this item was significantly more positive than the mean score for low SES offenders. In addition, offenders who were low in SES but hig in achievement received a more positive score on this item than did their low achieving low SES counterparts.

Similarly, subjects appeared to make assumptions about the offender's intellect on the basis of the SES information. While offenders from the high achievement group received sip;iificantly higher scores on the intelligence item than did low achievers, those low achievers who were of the high SES received a significantly hiF_ her score on this item than did low achievers who were low SES.

It seems reasonable to assume that these results indicate that subjects perceived a link between family status and academic ability.

In addition to the manipulation check items that were taken from the 30 ODR items, six filler items (10, 11, 15, 16, 21, and 24) were not related to criminal character per se, and were excluded so as to prevent their interference with the formation of factors related to criminal propensities of the offender. The exclusion of these items and the manipulation check items left a remaining 22 ODR items for factor analysis.

Major Analyses

The remaining 22 ODR items and the 25 Personality items were submitted to factor analyses using the Varimax method of rotation. Initially,

seven factors emerged for both the ODR and the Personality items; however, for each set of items, the amount of explained variance diminished





27


substantially after the first factor. Therefore, only one ODR factor and one Personality factor merited inclusion in further analyses.

Items with a leading of 0.50 or above were retained for the ODR

factor and the Personality factor. In each case, item of 0.50 loading or above that were negative attributes were reverse scored and sumed with the positively worded iterm. This sum, divided by the number of item was used to compute group means on the factor.

The factor retained from the ODR items, labeled Criminality due

to the high loading of items related to the offender's criminal motives, accounted for 22 percent of the variance. Table 1 gives the four items

comprising this factor and their factor loadings.

The retained Personality factor was labeled Virtues due to the

high loading of items reflecting virtuous personal qualities of the offender. This factor accounted for 21 percent of the variance. Items selected to comprise this factor and their loadings are given in Table 2.

In order to test for experimenter bias, experimenter conditions, and condition effects, a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was conducted using the factors Criminality, Virtues, and sentence recommendation as the dependent measures. This analysis revealed overall non-significance of the experimenter, F (6, 280) = 0.78, p > .05, as well as non-significance of experimenter X condition effects, F (42, 419) =

1.06, p > .05. The overall model for conditions was highly significant, F (21, 419) = 2.89, p < .001, thus revealing that the various conditions were successful in eliciting differential ratings from subjects. The results of the MANOVA for these effects are summarized in Table -A

In order to determine the effects of specific independent variables on the dependent measures, Criminality, Virtues, and sentence





28


Table 1

Items Comprising Criminality Factor Item Loading

may also be involved in substance abuse 0.67

. committed the charged act under his own accord 0.74

will likely become involved in some other ty e of
illegal activity at some point 0.59

committed the charged act under force or
coercion from others. -0.66


Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the first factor.





29


Table 2

Items Comprising Virtues Factor


Item Loading

Affectionate 0.56

Loyal 0.68

Unpredictable -0.55

Forceful -0.57

Truthful 0.73

Reliable 0.76

Sincere 0.82

Likable 0.77

Ambitious 0.70

Tender 0. 67

Happy 0.57


Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the f irs t fac tor.





30


Table 3

Results of MANOVA Test for Experimenter, Condition, and Experimenter X
Condition Effects on Criminality, Personal Virtue, and Sentence Recommendation.


Source DF F Pr > F

Experimenter ( 6, 280) 0.78 0.5838

Condition 21, 419 2.89 0.0001*

Experimenter X
Condition (42, 419) 1.06 0.3876

*p < .05.

Note: Calculations are based on the Hotteling-Lawley test of significance.





31


recommendation were used as dependent measures in a MANOVA to determine whether the respondent variables (subjects' sex, classification, gradepoint average, and income level) were significant with regard to offender evaluation. All respondent variables were shown to be nonsignificant in the MANOVA as well as in the univariate models. Because subjects' sex was non-significant as an independent variable, Hypothesis 6--that females would sentence more severely than males--was not supported.

In order to test the remaining five hypotheses, a MANOVA was performed on the offender variables (SES, achievement, and color). The MANOVA revealed overall non-significance of the SES variable, F (3, 157) = 0.12, p > .05. This finding indicates non-confirmation of both Hypothesis 1 (which predicted that low SES persons would receive more negative evaluations than higher SES offenders) and Hypothesis 2 (that low SES offenders would receive harsher sentences). Achievement, however, was highly significant overall, F (3, 157) = 16.49, p < 0.001, indicating that Hypothesis 3 and Hypothesis 4 could be tested for univariate effects. There was no significant main effect due to color, F (3, 157) = 1.16, p > .05. However, there was a significant interaction between color and achievement, F (3, 157) = 3.25, p < .05. These results are summarized in Table 4. As previously noted, Hypothesis 5 could not be tested due to the small number of Black subjects available.

The effects shown to be significant in the MANOVA were further

examined through an analysis of variance (ANOVA) for unbalanced designs. The ANOVA revealed that the model for the Criminality factor was highly





32


Table 4

Results of MANOVA Tests for Significance of Offender Variables
on Criminality Factor, Virtues Factor, and Sentence Recommendation


Source DF F Pr> F

SES (3, 157) 0.12 0.94

Achievement* (3, 157) 1.49 0.0001*

Color (3, 157) 1.16 0.32

SES X Achievement (3, 157) 0.86 0.46

SES X Color (3, 157) 1.64 0.18

Achievement X Color* (3, 157) 3.25 0.02*

SES X Achievement X Color (3, 157) 0.10 0.q9

< .05

Note: Due to missing values, total N for this analysis = 160.





33


significant, F (7, 159) = 2.97, P < .01 Further examination of the sources of variation showed that achievement was highly significant on th e Criminality factor, F (11 159) = 12.40, p < .001. An examination of the means for achievement groups on Criminality showed that Hypothesis 3 was confirmed. The man Criminality rating for low achieving offenders was significantly higher (more negative) than the mean rating for high achieving offenders (4.08 vs. 3.70, respectively). This significant difference indicates that subjects used the achievement of the offender as an index of the offender's criminal motivations (internal vs. external) and his propensity for further criminal involvement. These results are summarized in Tables 5 and 6.

The univariate procedure also revealed overall significance for the model containing the Virtues variable, F (7, 159) = 7.72, p < .001. As predicted, low achievers received less positive ratings on this factor than did high achieving offenders. Low achievers received a mean rating of 3.27 while high achievers received a mean rating of 4.17,

where a score of one would indicate that subjects did not believe the offender possessed the virtuous quality and a score of seven would indicate subjects believed the offender displayed the characteristic most or all of the time. The presence of a significant Achievement X Color interaction does not contradict the above finding; however, it requires interpretation. The interaction effect was such that high achievers were always rated more positively than low achievers on the Virtues variable; however, light complexioned (LC) offenders who were high achievers were rated significantly higher on Virtues than dark complexioned (DC) high achievers (LC = 4.38, DC = 3.97). However, light complexioned





34

Table 5

Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Criminality Factor


Source DF F Pr > F

Model* (7, 159) 2.97 0.0061*

SES (1, 159) 0.05 0.82

Achievement* (1, 159) 12.40 0.0006*

Color (1, 159) 0.22 0.6419

SES X Achievement (1, 159) 1.87 0.1739

SES X Color** (1, 159) 3.66 0.0510*

Achievement X Color (1, 159) 1.95 0.1640

SES X Achievement X Color (1, 159) 0.00 0.9895

*Significant at or above the .05 level.

**Significant on the Criminality variable, but insignificant in the MANOVA.





35

Table 6

Group Means for Achievement on Criminality Factor Mean
Achievement Criminality
Level Rating Std. Deviation
3.70 71
Hig i
n = 83

Low 4.08 .67
n = 84


Note: Means are significantly different at a = .05; 1 = low in criminal characteristics, 5 = high in criminal characteristics.





36

Table 7

Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Virtues Factor


Source DF F Pr > F

Model* (7, 159) 7.72 0.0001*

SES (1, 159) 0.34 0.56

Achievement* (1, 159) 44.98 0.0001*

Color (1, 159) o.94 0.33

SES X Achievement (1, 159) 0.30 0.58

SES X Color (1, 159) 0.96 0.32

Achievement X Color* (1, 159) 4.38 0.03*

SES X Achievement X Color (1, 159) 0.12 0.73

< < .05.





37


offenders who were low achievers were rated lower than dark complexioned low achievers on Virtues, though not significantly so (LC mean = 3.20, DC mean = 3.35). This effect is similar to Linville and Jones' (1980) polarization effect and is shown graphically in Figure 1. '

The sentence recommendation model was shown to be marginally significant, F (7, 159) = 1.79, (Pr > F = .09). This significance allows an interpretation of a highly significant achievement effect, F (1, 159) = 8.78, p < .01. As predicted, those offenders who were high achievers were sentenced less harshly than low achievers. The mean sentence recommendation for high achievers was 8.03 and 6.66 for low achievers,

where a score of one indicates the harshest sentence and a score of 15 indicates the least severe. Sentencing level eight represents a penalty of a fine with no imprisonment, while penalty six represents a penalty of three years imprisonment and a fine, and level seven represents two years imprisonment with optional fine. Thus, while imprisonment was recommended for low achievers on the average, this was not true for high

achievers. These results are summarized in Table 8.

The Post-Session Questionnaire TSQ) items were submitted as

dependent measures in an ANOVA to determine if the offender variables influenced subjects' perceptions of the probability of guilt of the

offenders, and if this affected the subjects' evaluations of the offenders and subjects' sentencing of the offenders. Respondent variables

were also tested for possible effects on responses to the PSO items.

The MANOVA conducted for the PSQ item revealed non-significance of all offender variables and respondent variables. This indicated

that neither the offender variables nor the respondent variables signfiicantly affected subjects' responses to the PSO items.





38












= High achievers = Low achievers






Mean
Virtue 4Rating












Dark Light
Complexion

Figure Achievement X Color Interaction on Virtue Rating.





39


In summary, the foregoing results indicate that offenders' achievement level had a significant effect on whether subjects perceived the offender to have internal criminal motivations, with high achievers being less likely to be perceived as having internal motivations than low achievers. High achievers were also likely to be perceived as having

more virtuous qualities, but. this effect was affected by the offenders' color. Lig t complexioned high achievers were perceived as significantly more virtuous than dark complexioned high achievers, but light complexioned low achievers were perceived as slightly less virtuous than dark complexioned low achievers. Finally, though subjects did not associate different probabilities of guilt with offenders on the basis of achievement, they did recommend significantly less severe sentences for high achievers than for low achievers.





40


Table 8

Results of Analysis of Variance for Effects
of Offender Variables on Sentence Recommendation


Source DF F Pr >F

Model (7, 159) 1.67 0.12

SES (1, 159) 0.00 0.98

Achievement* (1, 159) 7.41 0.007*

Color (1, 159) 1.34 0.24

38$ X Achievement (1, 159) 0.00 0.95

SES X Color (1, 159) 1.46 0.22

Achievement X Color (1, 159) 0.69 0.40

SES X Achievement X Color (1, 159) 0.24 0.62

*p< .05.














CHAPTER 4

DISCUSSION

To briefly review, it was predicted that (1) low SES offenders

would be rated more negatively than higher SES offenders on dispositional and personality items, (2) the lower evaluations of the low SES offenders would be positively related to their receiving more severe sentence recommendations, (3) low achievers would be evaluated more negatively on disposition and personality than high achievers, (4) the low evaluations of

low achievers would be positively related to their receiving more severe sentence recommendations than high achievers, (5) Black subjects would show a tendency to differentiate on the basis of color more than White

subjects, and (6) females would impose harsher sentences than males.

Results showed that the SES of the offender did not play a significant role in evaluations or sentencing: thus, Hypotheses 1 and 2 were not confirmed. The offender's achievement level had a highly significant effect on the evaluation of the offender and a highly significant effect on sentencing, although the overall model for .sentence recommendation was only marginally significant. Thus, Hypothesis 3 was confirmed while it only can be said that Hypothesis 4 was moderately supported. The f ifth hypothesis --that Black subjects would differentiate more than White subjects on the basis of offenders' color--could not be

tested due to the insufficient number of Black subjects available for the study. Severity of sentence recommendation was not significantly affected by sex of the subject; thus, Hypothesis 6 was not confirmed.

41





42


In summary, the academic achievement index of the alleged offenders appears to have held the central role in determining the respondents' perceptions of the offenders' criminal motivations and personal virtues. High achieving offenders were perceived as having less motivation for criminal activity than low achievers, and high achievers were also perceived as having greater personal virtues than low achievers. The

higher ratings on personal virtues and the lower ratings on criminal motivations were positively related to high achieving offenders' lower mean sentence recommendation.

One possible explanation for the prevalence of the achievement

variable over the other offender variables is that subjects perhaps viewed the offender's achievement level as a trait around which all other offender characteristics could be interpreted. Along these lines, Asch (1946) found that substituting the word "warm" or "cold" in a group of descriptive adjectives led to significantly different evaluations of the stimulus persons these adjectives supposedly described. Asch's subjects appeared to have clear expectations as to which characteristics fit well

with "warm" and "cold" personalities. Similarly, participants in the present study seemed to have expectations as to the characteristics that fit well with high achievement and low achievement. They also seemed to

make some assumptions as to the extent of punishment appropriate for high achievers and low achievers.

Some of these findings may also be explained by the implicit theory of personality, which holds that observers often make assumptions about

the type of traits that belong together. Thus, given that an individual possesses or displays one trait or characteristic, we tend to make assumptions about other traits or characteristics that individual possesses.





43


Rosenberg and Sedlack (1972) found that an individual who is perceived as intelligent is also likely to be perceived as friendly. Some of the studies in interpersonal attraction discussed in Chapter I suggest that observers often believe that a person who is physically beautiful is also abundant in other positive traits (Dion, Berschied, and Walster, 19'74).

As discussed in Chapter 1, Butt and Signori (1976) found that observers hold certain beliefs and attitudes about others' abilities, sincerity, sense of security, etc., on the basis of the ethnic group or social group to which those others belong. Group membership was viewed as providing a source of information beyond mere classification or categorization. The respondents in the Butt and Signori study apparently believed group membership was an index of attitude, behavior, and ability.

Similar to the findings from Rosenberg and Sedlack's (1972) study,

it appears that the implicit theory of personality mediated subjects' evaluations of the offenders. The ratings subjects gave offenders on the Virtues factor seem to indicate that offenders who were hiRh achievers were also perceived as reliable, sincere, likable, ambitious, and happy.

Subjects did not believe these characteristics were descriptive of low achievers. These assumptions apparently influenced subjects in their

evaluations of offenders.

It seems reasonable to believe that, depending on the situation, some characteristics or traits may be more heavily weighted than others.

For example, it is understandable that physical appearance would play a very dominant role in a study of dating choices; however, even though it has been demonstrated that physical attractiveness is a very potent

variable in interpersonal relationships, the role of physical attractiveness might be diminished if it were competing a pinst competence in a





44


study of partner choices in a problem-solving situation. Thus, as the

situation shifts, and as the type of decision that must be made changes, the importance of certain person variables my also shift. For example,

Shaw and Gilchrist (1955) found that as task failure became a Mjor concern to task participants, partner abilities became more important than group maintenance.

It appears that the importance of a particular variable in the

attribution process may be a function of (I ) the situation and the decisions observers are required to make, (2) the quality and quantity of information observers have about the stimulus persons, (3) qualities of the stimulus person, and (4) qualities of the decision maker. In the

present study, the offenders were depicted as members of a particular racial group (Black), and within this racial classification skin color was either very dark or very light. Each alleged offender was presented as belonging to either a relatively high or low socio-economic status, and each was depicted as either a high achiever academically or a low achiever. Respondents were therefore presented with three types of inform.tion about the offender whose case they examined, and the respondents could have used any one variable, any combination of variables, or none of these variables, as a decision-making or evaluation aid in rating

the offenders on the dependent measures.

Assuming that perceived character was the basis of subjects' evaluations and sentencing of the offenders, the non-significance of SES

in the present study indicates that subjects may have perceived SES to be less of an index of the stimulus person's character than his achievement. The presence of an achievement effect and absence of an effect due to SES is by no means indicative of any greater importance of achievement over socio-economic status in the attribution process as a whole.





45


It may simply indicate that the respondents in the present study viewed

the offender's achievements as a more substantial variable for making the type of evaluations they were required to make. It is possible that if a different type of decision had been required or if the crime involved had been different (e.g., a crime involving physical injury to another), SES might have proved to be more significant than achievement.

The prepotency of achievement over SES may be attributable to the effects of ascribed vs. achieved status. Linton (1936) distinguished

between the two on the basis of expenditure of efforts in attaining each type. Socio-economic status, as used in the present study, is an ascribed characteristic--that is, it was not earned by the stimulus persons, but inherited from parents. Academic achievement, on the other

hand, was a purely achieved characteristic in that the stimulus persons' own personal efforts led to their attaining their achievement scores
'Orade-point aver-ages) .
_DC

Given the type of decision subjects had to make, it seems logical that ascribed characteristics would be taken as less of a foundation for generalizing about the offenders' overall character than offenders' achievements. In the case of criminal evaluations, one of the variables with

which evaluators should be most concerned is the extent to which the offender appears to be able to steer away from criminal activities. The assumption that one can met this challenge may hinge predominantly on one's record of abilities and achievement. These indices of past behavior may be used by evaluators as predictors of future behavior. Hi,h academic achievement, it appears, is perceived as more of an index of one's

future behaviors than is one's SES. While it rray be argued that one's SES plays a role in one's achievements, it may also be argued that SES

does not predestine one's achievements, nor. does it determine behavior.





46


Ascribed charac teris tics, such as SES, my not be perceived as indicative of one's true character as other variables. The individual's own behavior has not been implicated in his possession of ascribed status. While one may assume that diligence and adherence to a strong work ethic gains one admittance to a higher social and economic class, in the present

study it is the offenders' parents and not the offender himself who would have demonstrated this diligence. The opposite is true for the offender's achievements. Any gains made in this area would have to be indicative of personal diligence and hard work on the part of the offender. Consequently,

the conclusion my have been drawn that this diligence carried over into other aspects of the offender's life. It follows that given achievement information and SES information, observers would believe achievement to be more relevant to the situation in the present study and to the decision they had to make.

The Criminality factor that emerged in the present study was comprised of items related to whether the defendant committed the act on his own accord, committed the act by force from others, whether he was involved in drug abuse, and whether he was likely to become involved in

some other type of illegal activity at some point. Regardless of socioeconomic status, high achievers were perceived as less likely to have committed the act on their own accord (and therefore more likely to have acted under coercion), less likely to be involved in drug abuse, and less likely to become involved in further criminal activity than low

achievers. In view of the fact that recidivism (commission of the same crime again) is theoretically a mjor concern in sentencing, it is highly reasonable that offenders who were perceived as being less personally motivated toward crime and less involved in drug use which might





47


be related to commission of further criminal acts would be perceived more positively.

It follows from the more positive evaluations given to higa achievers .that less severe sentences would be recommended for this group. The present study shows support for this line of reasoning. The mean sentence recommendation for high achievers was lower (less severe) than that for low achievers. Sentences for both goups were lower than the sentences

indicated as the state's maximum sentence, which may indicate that, on the average, subjects felt this sentence was too harsh--or at least too harsh for the offenders being considered. It should be noted, however, that life imprisonment with a chance of parole (the second most severe sentence described) was recommended at least once, indicating that not

all subjects viewed the state's sentence (15 years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine) as too harsh, unless, of course, some respondents valued

money over freedom.

It is interesting to note that despite the differences in sentence recommendations for high and low achievers, responses to the postsession questionnaire indicate that subjects did not perceive hi&n achievers to be any less guilty of the criminal act than low achievers. Thus, it appears that even thoug i high achievers were viewed as probably

guilty, subjects did not perceive higi achievers to need as much punishment as low achievers needed. Since sentencing was a discretionary matter, with each subject being allowed to recommend any of the 15 sentences he/she desired, it appears that high achievers were the beneficiaries of this discretion. If this outcome is relevant to the sentencing of offenders in real criminal cases, it may help-explain why there is often discrepancy in real jury and judicial sentencing. The





48


impressions juries and judges have of the offender apparently influence their ultimate sentence recommendations. This interpretation is supported by Kalven and Zeisel (1966), who found that judges reported that 11 percent of the cases in which judges and jurors disagreed in their evaluations of the offender was due to the jurors' having formed an overly positive impression of the offender based on extra-legal variables. Thus, when the offender has positive characteristics and dicretion allows, guilt may become a discounted variable.

In view of the research that has suggested that the actual or perceived SES of the offender influences sentencing (Chambliss and Seidman, 1971 ; Hagan, 1973; Thornberry, 1973; Foley and Chamblin, 1980), it is possible that the type of crime used in the present study accounted for

the absence of an SES effect. Most studies showing an effect of the offender's SES have focused on crimes in which another individual was physically harmed (e.g., homicide, rape, etc.), or on other types of crimes in which there was a specific victim. This is true of both laboratory experiments and field studies. It may be that in crimes in which people are injured, the SES of the offender is perceived as being more relevant than other variables and perhaps more relevant than achievement, since it is possible that SES may be perceived to be more of an index of personal aggressiveness (Chambliss and Seidman, 1971). In many cases, low $85 offenders may be believed to be more aggressive and. more likely to pose a general threat to society than hig~ SES offenders.

The interaction between color and achievement in the present study may be related to Linville and Jones' (1980) polarization hypothesis.

According to these researchers, observers tend to polarize their ratings of out-group members on the basis of the positivity or negativity of the





49


information given about the stimulus person. Positive information yields a positive polarization while negative information yields a negative polarization. Identical information provided about in-group members (persons with whom observers can identify on some basis such as race,

sex, etc.) will yield moderate rather than extreme ratings.

If this hypothesis is applied here, it would seem to suggest that

the subjects had less of a schema for evaluating lighter complexioned Blacks than they had for evaluating darker complexioned Blacks. The relatively extreme scores assigned to the lighter stimulus persons as compared to darker stimulus persons suggest that subjects viewed the lighter Blacks as somewhat of an anomaly. If this is in fact the case, it may be that the lighter complexioned Blacks in the photographs deviated from subjects' conceptualization of Blacks. If subjects had no schema for evaluating these individuals, they would be expected to rely

very heavily on the nature of the information given them about the offender. In this case, subjects relied on the achievement information, giving high positive ratings to hipti achievers and low negative rating., to low achievers.

One implication of the interaction between color and achievement in the present study is that the perpetual focus on race as a variable in socio-behavioral research my have served to obscure the significance of other variables that may be equally active in the process of person

evaluation and social interaction.

Perhaps the major implication of the findings discussed here is

something that has been well-known in the social and behavioral sciences for a very long time. Extra-situational person variables can and do

affect our perceptions and evaluations of others in a variety of situations.





50


Beyond affecting our perceptions and evaluations, person variables can

affect our behavior toward others such that we are willing to disperse awards and punishment on the basis of these variables. The fact that two people who are the same in every respect except for grade-point aver-age could be evaluated so differently in terms of character, and subsequently sentenced to different levels of punishment for a crime of

which they are both perceived to be guilty speaks of the strength of the implicit assumptions we make about others. In addition, this fact speaks of the faith we place in these assumptions.

Of course, it is perhaps not without reason that the subjects in

the present study demonstrated more of a willingness to be more lenient with high achievers than with low achievers. It seems logical that a person who achieves might in fact possess many virtuous qualities. Perhaps the correlation between achievement and personality had been more real than illusory in the subjects' experiences, leading them to expect less likelihood of future criminal behaviors on the part of the higt

achieving offender.

The further assumption that this high achieving individual is a reliable and sincere person may also be a reasonable assumption. Schlenker (1980) notes that persons with high status tend to be given

prerogatives not afforded to those of lower status. One's achievements are, of course, a type of status, and in this vein, it is highly possible

that high achievers were therefore afforded benefits that low achievers were not afforded. Hip i achievers were afforded the assumption of a non-criminal character and a positive, virtuous personality as though they were being given credit for their academic prowess. Beyond these concessions, high achievers were afforded the prerogative to endure





51


less severe punishment than their low achieving counterparts, even though the crime was one evaluators believed they (high achievers) had actually committed. While character or perceived character of a defendant can be expected to play a role in jurors' and judges' evaluations of persons who are accused of crimes, it seems that once one is actually classified as an offender, the role of prerogatives would diminish, and the quest would become one of distributing justice. If

justice is in fact blind, one's achievements should not affect one's punishment once guilt is established.

There are enough examples outside the laboratory to tell us that prerogatives are given on the basis of status or perceived status.

High status persons convicted of crimes are rarely sentenced to state prisons. Attorneys have long known that a client who presents a positive image to jurors has a better chance of being found not guilty, or, if found guilty, being sentenced less severely than a client who presents

a negative image. Perhaps one of the reasons such care is taken in choosing a jury is that attorneys know it is important to determine what kind of characteristics tle jurors will perceive as most positive or most negative. It is perhaps better and easier at times to have a jury

tha:t conforms to the defendant than to have to rmke the defendant conform to the jury. Depending on the type of characteristics the members

of the jury value, it my be impossible for some defendants to conform to meet those values. For example, it is difficult to change one's ethnic group, sex, etc.

The fact that variables other than those related to the crime can

influence jury dispositions may be dissettling to some, common knowledge to others, and confirmation of a suspicion to still others. It is





52


important to note that this effect is present in most situations, sometimes perhaps without the knowledge of those making decisions. If this is the case, it may be that the only possible means of minimizing the

effects of irrelevant information in cases where such information nay prove detrimental is to make people cognizant of the fact that they are susceptible to using these extraneous variables, and to give explicit caveats regarding the possible effects of such variables. Such warnings

are important since it is clear that when people have the discretion to do so, they will sometimes make decisions on the basis of variables

that seem to have little to do with the situation at hand.

Even with an explicit caveat, extra-situational variables my

remain active. The saving grace here is the fact that generalizations and assumptions about individuals on the basis of a few known facts my sometimes work to the advantage of deserving individuals.














APPENDIX A

EXPERI ENTER SCRIPT


You are probably aware that a great amount of money is spent each year in programs designed to train people as court counselors or court liaisons. These court counselors advise the judges in nonjury trials as to what should be the sentence for certain types of offenders, since it is impossible for the judge to devote time to scrutinizing each case which comes before him or her.

One offender of particular concern is the offender whose crime is drug-related. Many agencies hire and train people to focus specifically on the felony drug offenses. The training program for court counselors is an extensive and also a very expensive process. Each potential counselor must be interviewed, and if selected he or she must undergo an intensive program in psychology, sociology, and law. In addition, the

individual must attend a series of seminars and lectures on the uses and abuses of drugs.

The use of court counselors is becoming very popular. You may be aware that a number of college campuses have counselors appointed to work specifically with students who have been involved in drugrelated offenses.

We are concerned as to whether the expensive training programs as they currently exist are really necessary. We are investigating whether untrained persons, given information similar to that which a court counselor would gather from the client, can make decisions that are

53





54


just as discerning and legally justifiable as the extensively trained individuals.

The court counseling process proceeds like this. After the offender is brought in and charges are made, the court counselor is called. The counselor goes down to the police station to see the client. A brief (usually about 10 minutes or less) session is held between the counselor and the offender. In this period, the counselor mkes an attempt to learn something about the offender--his or her occupation, family situation, previous offenses, and other background or personal

information. In this way, the counselor hopes to get as accurate a picture as possible of the offender and to thus be able to make a fair and just sentencing recommendation--one that will do society justice as well as the offender.

We have compiled a number of cases involving offenses in which a court counselor would be called upon to advise the court. We have been

able to obtain these cases through out-of-state programs that work a great deal with offenders in college. We want to simulate the actual court counseling situation using you as counselors. For each case, we have provided information identical to that which a court counselor

would attempt to get in a face-to-face offender interview session. We have written up each case on a case report form (CRF). The specific offense in each case is given in the first few lines of the case report form. Now, in the actual counseling situation, you would of course meet the individual face-to-face. Since this is obviously not possible for us at this point, permission has been obtained to provide a photograph of most of the offenders, and in such cases, we have attached the photograph to each case report form. We know that photographs do not take





55

the place of a face-to-face interview, but we do feel they are helpful in helping us to simulate actual counseling situations.

In a moment, I will give each of you one case. I would like for you to very carefully examine the case. As a court counselor would do, you are to use the given information to form an overall impression of the individual. We would like for you to use the scale labeled Personality Profile (hold form up for subjects' viewing) to record your impression of the individual. This scale features 25 adjectives similar to those a court counselor would use in his/her write-up of the individual. To save time, we are asking that you simply use the appropriate number from the scale at the top of the page to indicate the extent to which you believe the adjective given describes the individual. For example, if you believe that this description is occasionally true of the individual, you would place the number four in the space next to the word "cooperative."

Since it is important to form some kind of impression as to the offender's behavioral and attitudinal tendencies, a disposition scale is provided for each person. On this scale, you should check the extent

to which you agree or disagree as to whether the stated disposition reflects the offender's disposition. As you can probably Pess, this type of information is extremely important to the judge since the offender's disposition often tells a great deal about the type of sentencing needed. Therefore, be as conscientious as possible in forming and recording your impressions.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you are asked to make one of a number of commonly used sentencing recommendations for the individual, keeping in mind the nature and seriousness of the offense and





56


the qualities of the individual provided in the personal data sheet and your personal impressions. On the sentencing sheets, you will notice that a number of different sentences are provided. Somewhere between the top and-bottom sentences, you will see two asterisks. These asterisks represent the sentence that is currently mandated by the Florida statutes. Although this is the sentence that the laws recommend, other sentences have been provided since you may feel that this sentence is either too light or too lenient for the crime and the offender involved. Therefore, heavier and lighter sentences are provided. If you feel a lighter sentence is more appropriate, you are free to recommend that sentence. If you feel a more severe sentence is appropriate, you should recommend that sentence. It is not at all uncommon for a court counselor to recommend either a tougher or more lenient sentence depending on the counselor's impressions of the offender.

Again, we realize that the information you will have on each offender may seem very limited. We ask that you keep in mind that the

information we have provided you is information identical to that a court counselor might get in interviewing the person. The only thing the counselor has that you do not is an actual offender sitting there in front of him or her. It is important that you attempt to form an impression based on the information you have. We want to see if your judgements are just as valid as or similar to the counselor's judgements.

Do you have any questions? (Experimenter answers questions to the best of ability. Unanswerable questions should be simply classified as such, or the subjects may be asked to refer their questions to the researcher (give researcher's telephone number).





57


Okay, I will now distribute the packets. Remember to address any and all questions to me if any should arise while you are completing the sheets. "The experimenter directs each subject to a booth. Once subjects are seated, experimenter distributes one packet to each person.,

Each packet contains the crime report sheet with photograph attached, the Offender Disposition Rating, the Personality Profile, and the Sentence Recommendation form. Please work as quietly as you can. If you should happen to have any questions at all, please let me know and we can step outside. Any questions? (Pause for questions.) Okay, you may begin.

'The experimenter should sit in an available but unobtrusive place.

As subjects complete the evaluations, the experimenter should watch to make sure subjects place the scales and the profiles back into the

envelopes. When all subjects have completed the evaluations given him/ her, the experimenter should collect the packets.)

Okay, now I have one other set of questions I need you to answer about the offender. Let me know when you are finished with this and I have one other thing for you. "Experimenter gives subjects the postsession questionnaire. After subjects complete this sheet, experimenter distributes the Personal Data Sheet. Following the completion of this

sheet, experimenter will call subjects back together for debriefing.






























APPENDIX B

CRIME REPORT FORM








Case ID#

High Socio-Economic Status High Achievement


Name XXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Last First Middle

DOB XXXXX Age 25 Race B

Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185






Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested following the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Information given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, isomerization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with

(1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law), (2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and

(4) one count personal possession of cocaine. (Use reverse for additional information.) Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license plate)

(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)







59





60


PERSONAL HISTORY

Parental Information

Father's Name XX=(X XXXXX XXxxx

Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law

Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX

Mother's Name XX=XX XXXGX XXxxx

Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades 4, 5, 6)

Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX

Personal Data

Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing, horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess School Attending (code)XXXXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXX

Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0

Current Status Suspended pending trial outcome

Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major area of study and grade-point.



Case Reviewer





61

Case ID#

High Socio-Economic Status Low Achievement

Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX

Last First Middle

DOB XXXXX Age 25 Race B

Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185






Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested following the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 Tams cocaine. Information given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, Isomerization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),

(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.



(Use reverse for additional information.) Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license plate)



(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)





62


PERSONAL HISTORY

Parental Information

Father 's Name X XXXXX XXXXXX OXX

Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law

Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX

Mother's Name XXXX XXXXX X(XXXX

Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades 4, 5, 6)

Employer's Name and Address XXX)XXXXXX Personal Data

Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing, horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess.

School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code)XXX

Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4.0

Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome

Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major area of study and grade-point.



Case Reviewer





63


Case ID#

Low Socio-Economic Status High Achievement

Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX

Last First Middle

DOB XXXXX Age 25 Race B

Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185






Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested following the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Inforration given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, isomerization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),

(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.



(Use reverse for additional information.) Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license plate).



(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)





64


PERSONAL HISTORY

Parental Information

Father s Name XXXX XXXXX xxxxx

Father's Occupation Short-Order Cook

Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX

Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX xxxxx

Mother's Occupation Maid (private home) Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX

Personal Data

Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoyingplaying cards,

basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.

School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXXXX

Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0

Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome

Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major area of study and grade-point.



Case Reviewer





65

Case ID#

Low Socio-Economic Status Low Achievement

Name XCXXXX XXXXX XXXXX

Last First Middle

DOB XXXXX Age 25 Race B

Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185





Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested following the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Information given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the bavoe suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, isomerization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),

(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.



(Use reverse for additional information.) Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license

plate ).



(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)





66


PERSONAL HISTORY

Parental Information

Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX

Father's Occupation Short-Order Cook

Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXX

Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX

Mother's Occupation Maid (private home) Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX

Personal Data

Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying playing cards,

basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.

School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXX State (code)XXXXX

Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4.0

Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome

Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to

arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major area of study and grade-point.



Case Reviewer






























APPENDIX C

OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM








Case INP

OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING

Instructions: Circle the number that indicates the extent to which you believe each disposition stated below reflects the offender's disposition. Use the key below in responding.

Key:

1 = StronglyBelieve this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
2 = Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
3 Neither believe nor disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender.
4 Do Not Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
5 Strongly Disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender's disposition. Based on my impression gathered through the information provided on this
case, the individual in Case ID1f

1. realizes the seriousness of his/her offense. 1 2 3 4 5

2. has a violent temper. 1 2 3 4 5

3. will probably commit this offense again if not
adequately punished. 1 2 3 4 5

4. regrets having committed this offense. 1 2 3 4 5

5. has other unreported offenses. 1 2 3 4 5

6. my also be involved in substance (drug) abuse. 1 2 3 4 5

7. comes from a weak family background. 1 2 3 4 5

8. does not take his/her offense seriously. 1 2 3 4 5

9. would benefit from punishment. 1 2 3 4 5

10. is a productive person. 1 2 3 4 5

11. is a concerned and conscientious person. 1 2 3 4 5

12. committed the charged act under his/her own accord. 1 2 3 4 5

13. would benefit from a drug rehabilitation program. 1 2 3 4 5

14. would suffer unduly if imprisoned. 1 2 3 4 5

15. is a basically cooperative person. 1 2 3 4 5

16. is an untrustworthy person. 1 2 3 4 5

17. has solid abilities to judge right and wrong. 1 2 3 4 5

68





69


Case ID#

18. has family members who can help him/her avoid further 1 2 3 4 5
involvement in illegal activities.

19. poses a general threat to society. 1 2 3 4 5

20. is a considerably intelligent person. 1 2 3 4 5

21. has a negative self-concept. 1 2 3 4 5

22. is a hostile person. 1 2 3 4 5

23. will likely become involved in some other type of 1 2 3 4 5
illegal activity at some point.

24. is a responsible person. 1 2 3 4 5

25. needs to serve time in a correctional facility in 1 2 3 4 5
order to be deterred from further illegal activity.

26. can be steered away from crime through witnessing --'- 1 2 3 4 5
the trial process and rmy therefore not be in need of
imprisonment.

27. is now able to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3 4 5

28. lacks the skills to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3 4 5 29. would be hurt more than helped by -imprisonment. 1 2 3 4 5

30. committed the charged act under coercion (force or 1 2 3 4 5
persuasion) by others.






























APPENDIX D

PERSONALITY PROFILE








Case ID# ___PERSONALITY PROFILE Using the response key below, rate the defendant in Case # ___on
each trait/characteristic.

12 3 4, 5 6 7
II I I I II
Never or Usually Sometimes Occasion- Often Usually Almost
Almost not true but infre- ally true true always
never true quently true true true

1. Moody __ 19. Conventional__2. Independent __20. Willing to take risks __3. Shy ___21. Uses harsh language _4. Theatrical __22. Tender__5. Affectionate __23. Gullible__6. Loyal __24. Dominant _7. Strong personality __25. Happy__B. Unpredictable__9. Forceful__i0. Feminine__'11. Truthful _12. Reliable__13. Sincere__14. Likable__15. Conceited__16. Masculine__17. Childlike 18. Ambitious





71






























APPENDIX E

SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION








Reviewer ID# Case ID#

SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION
(SR-C 145)

Instructions: Consider each of the following sentences in regard to the suitability of each sentence for the suspect and the crime with which he is charged. Decide the sentence you believe is most appropriate. Place a double X (XX) in the space next to that sentence. Special Note: Even though the State of Florida currently provides a maximum sentence for the crime you are considering, it is possible that many
favor a higher sentence for the particular crime under consideration. Thus, hig ier options are provided.

My sentence recommendation is as follows:

1. Life in prison with no chance of parole.

2. Life sentence with a chance of T)arole after a period to be
determined by Parole Board. I would recommend no parole
before years.

3. Fifteen (15) years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.**

4. Ten (10) years imprisonment and $200,000 fine.

5. Five (5) years imprisonment and $100,000 fine.

6. Three (3) years imprisonment and $50,000 fine.

7. Two (2) years imprisonment. Fine, if any: $

8. Fine of $ with no imprisonment.

9. County Jail confinement for a period of one (1) year.

10. County Jail confinement for a 60-day period.

11. Probation (individual must report to court weekly for Progress
Check and must not, during the probation period, be involved in any type of illegal activity. He/she rmst also maintain a
steady job and must be in good standing in the community
throughout the probationary period, which shall be of three
3) calendar years).

12. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for two (2)
years.

13. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for one (1)
year.


**Maximum sentence afforded by current Florida law.
73





74

14. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for six (6)
months.

15. Community service for a period of one (1) calendar year.































APPENDIX F

POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET








Case ID#

POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE Even though you were not asked to make a decision as to whether the defendant in the case you examined was guilty or not guilty, think back to the case you examined and respond to the items below. Place a double X (XX),in the appropriate spaces.

1. The defendant in the last case I examined, in my belief, is

definitely guilty

most probably guilty

possibly guilty

possibly not guilty

most probably not guilty

definitely not guilty.

2. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the ratings you gave the defendant on the scales?

Yes, a great deal

Yes, somewhat Yes, a little

No, not a great deal

No, hardly at all

No, not at all.

3. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the sentence recommendation you rmde for that defendant?

Yes, a great deal

Yes, somewhat

Yes, but only a little

No, not a great deal

No, hardly at all

No, not at all.


76






77


Date Case ID#

Time Reviewer ID#

4. What is your age? Sex: Male Female

5. Race (circle one): Black White Hispanic Oriental
Other (please specify)

6. What is your classification?

7. What is your major or intended major?

8. In what city and state were you born?
city state
How long did you live in the above location?

9. In what city would you say you grew up?
city state

10. Please circle the category below that you believe most closely estimates your family's annual income.

a. below $5,000
b. $5,000 $10,000 c. $10,000 $15,000 d. $15,000 $20,000 e. $20,000 $25,000 f. $25,000 $30,000 g. $30,000 $35,000 h. $35,000 $40,000 i. $400000 $45,000 j. $45,000 $50,000 k. $50,000 $55,000
1. $55,000 above

11. Would you describe yourself as being from the (a) lower (b) lower
middle (c) middle (d) upper middle, or (e) upper socio-economic
s tra tum? (enter appropriate letter)

12. What is your father's occupation?

13. What is your mother's occupation?

14. What is your current grade-point average? (circle appropriate category)

a. currently below 2.0
b. 2.o 2.3 c. 2.3 2.5 d. 2.5 2.9 e. 3.0 3.3 f. 3.3 3.5 g. 3.5 3.7 h. 3.7 4.o














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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 285-290.

Dovidic, S. L., and Gaertner, J. F. The subtlety of White racism,
arousal, and helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 1977, 35(10), 691-707.

Ebbesen, E. B., and Koneoni, V. J. The process of sentencing adult
felons: A causal analysis of judicial decision. In B. D. Sales
(Ed.), Perspectives in law and psychology (Vol. 2): The jury,
judicial,_and trial process. New York: Plenum, 1981.

Efran, M'. G. The effect of physical appearance on the judgement of
guilt, interpersonal attraction, and severity of recommended
punishment in a simulated jury task. Journal of Research Personality, 1974, 8, 45-54.

Foley, L. A., and Chanmbin, M. H. The effect of race and personality
on mock jurors' decisions. Unpublished manuscript. University
of North Florida, 1980.

Frazier, C. E. Appearance, demeanor, and backstage negotiations:
Bases of discretion in a first appearance court. International
Journal of the Sociology of Law, 1979., 7, 197-209.

Gerbasi, K., Zucker=a, M., and Reis, H. Justice needs a new blindfold:
A review of mock jury research. Psychological Bulletin, 1977,
4 (2), 323-345.

Hagan, J. Extra-legal attributes and criminal sentencing, : An assessment of a sociological viewpoint. Law and Society Review, 197374, 8, 357-383.

Heider, F. The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York:
Wiley, 1958.

Helwig, J., and Council, K. (Eds.). SAS User's Guide. Cary, N. C.:
SAS Institute, Inc., 19.7,9, 237-263.

Hemphill, C. F. Criminal procedure: The adrtinistratio of justice,
Santa Monica, Calif.: Goodyear Publishing Company, Inc., 1973.





80


Johnson, C. S. Growing up in the black belt. New York: Schocken,
1967.

Jones, E. E., and Davis, K. E. From acts to dispositions: The attribution process in person perception. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),
Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2). New York:
Academic Press, 1965.

Kalven, H., and Zeisel, H. The American jury. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1966.

Katz, I., and Glass, D. An ambivalence-amplification theory of behavior
toward the stigmatized. In W. G. Austin and Stephen Worchel
(Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth, Inc., 1979.

Katz, I., Glass, D. C., and Cohen, S. Ambivalence, guilt and scapegoating
of minority group victims. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1973, 9, 423-436.

Kelley, H. H. Attribution in social interaction. Morriston, N. J.:
General Learning Press, 1971.

Kelley, H. H. The processes of causal attribution. American Psychologist, 1973, 28, 107-128.

Konecni, V. J., and Ebbesen, E. B. An analysis of the sentencing system. In V. J. Konecni and E. B. Ebbesen (Eds.), The criminal
justice system: A social-psychological analysis. San Francisco:
W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982.

Landy, D., and Aronson, E. The influence of the criminal and his victim on the decisions of simulated jurors. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 141-152.

Linton, R. The study of man. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1936.

Linville, P. W., and Jones, E. E. Polarized appraisals of out-group
members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1980, 5,
689-703.

Marks, E. S. Skin color judgements of Negro college students. Journal
of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1943, 38, 370-376.

Newcomb, Theodore. The acquaintance process. New York: Holt, Rinehart,
and Winston, 1961.

Rosenberg, S., and Sedlack, A. Structural representations of implicit
personality theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 6). New York: Academic Press,
1972.

Schlenker, B. R. Impression management: The self-concept, social
identity, and interpersonal relations. Monterey, Calif.: BrooksCole Publishing Company, 1980.





81


Shaw, M. E., and Gilchrist, J. C. Repetitive task failure and sociometric choice. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1955,
50, 29-32.

Sherif, M., and Hovland, C. I. Social judgement: Assimilation and contrast effects in communication and attitude change. New Haven,
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Sipll, H., and Aronson, E. Liking for an evaluator as a function of
her physical attractiveness and nature of evaluations. Journal
of Experimental Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 93-100.

Sigall, H., and Ostrove, N. Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of
offender attractiveness and nature of the crime on juridicial
judgement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975,
31, 410-414.

Tedeschi, J. T., and Lindskold, S. Social psychology: Interdependence,
interaction, and influence. New York: Wiley, 1976.

Thomas, C. W., and Fitch, W. A. The exercise of discretionary decisions
by the police. North Dakota Law Review, 1977, 54(1), 61-95.

Thornberry, T. P. Race, socio-economic status, and sentencing in the
juvenile system. Journal of Criminal Law, Criminolo y, and Police
Science, 1973, 64, 90-98.

Walster, E., Aronson, V., Abrahams, D., and Rottman, L. Importance of
physical attractiveness in dating behavior. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 508-516.














BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH


Sonja Peterson-Lewis is the daughter of Marie Peterson-Lewis

and Edgar L. Lewis of rMacclenny, Florida. She was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on October 19, 1954, and grew up in the northeast Florida town of Macdlenny. She attended Keller Elementary and Baker County High School. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida.



































82








I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.



Dr. Marvin E. Shaw, Chairman Professor of Psycholog(

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.



Dr. Richard R. Scott, Assistant Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conform to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.



Dr. Larry J. Severe, Associate PrcTessor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.



Dr. Franz Epting,
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.



Dr. Rodman Webb,
Associate Professor of Foundati= of Education








This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of* Philosophy.



August 1983 _ _ _ _ _ _
Dean for Graduate Studies and Research




Full Text
52
important to note that this effect is present in most situations, some
times perhaps without the knowledge of those making decisions. If this
is the case, it may be that the only possible means of minimizing the
effects of irrelevant information in cases where such information may
prove detrimental is to make people cognizant of tine fact that they are
susceptible to using these extraneous variables, and to give explicit
caveats regarding the possible effects of such variables. Such warnings
are important since it is clear that when people have the discretion to
do so, they will sometimes make decisions on the basis of variables
that seem to have little to do with the situation at hand.
Even with an explicit caveat, extra-situational variables may
remain active. The saving grace here is the fact that generalizations
and assumptions about individuals on the basis of a few known facts
may sometimes work to the advantage of deserving individuals.


54
just as discerning and legally justifiable as the extensively trained
individuals.
The court counseling process proceeds like this. After the
offender is brought in and charges are made, the court counselor is
called. The counselor goes down to the police station to see the client.
A brief (usually about 10 minutes or less) session is held between the
counselor and the offender. In this period, the counselor makes an
attempt to learn something about the offenderhis or her occupation,
family situation, previous offenses, and other background or personal
information. In this way, the counselor hopes to get as accurate a
picture as possible of the offender and to thus be able to make a
fair and just sentencing recommendationone that will do society
justice as well as the offender.
We have compiled a number of cases involving offenses in which a
court counselor would be called upon to advise the court. We have been
able to obtain these cases through out-of-state programs that work a
great deal with offenders in college. We want to simulate the actual
court counseling situation using you as counselors. For each case, we
have provided information identical to that which a court counselor
would attempt to get in a face-to-face offender interview session. We
have written up each case on a case report form (CRF). The specific
offense in each case is given in the first few lines of the case report
form. Now, in the actual counseling situation, you would of course meet
the individual face-to-face. Since this is obviously not possible for
us at this point, permission has been obtained to provide a photograph
of most of the offenders, and in such cases, we have attached the photo
graph to each case report form. We know that photographs do not take


26
made an assumption about the offender's background on the basis of the
parental occupation information, but also about the offender's intellect
on the basis of parental occupation. Ihus, high SES offenders' mean
score on this item was significantly more positive than the mean score
for low SES offenders. In addition, offenders who were low in SES but
high in achievement received a more positive score on this item than
did their low achieving low SES counterparts.
Similarly, subjects appeared to make assumptions about the of
fender's intellect on the basis of the SES information. While offenders
from the high achievement group received significantly higher scores
on the intelligence item than did low achievers, those low achievers
who were of the high SES received a significantly higher score on this
item than did low achievers who were low SES.
It seems reasonable to assume that these results indicate that
subjects perceived a link between family status and academic ability.
In addition to the manipulation check items that were taken from
the 30 ODR items, six filler items (10, 11, 15, 16, 21, and 24) were
not related to criminal character per se, and were excluded so as to
prevent their interference with the formation of factors related to
criminal propensities of the offender. The exclusion of these items
and the manipulation check items left a remaining 22 ODR items for
factor analysis.
Major Analyses
The remaining 22 ODR items and the 25 Personality items were sub
mitted to factor analyses using the Varimax method of rotation. Initially,
seven factors emerged for both the ODR and the Personality items; however,
for each set of items, the amount of explained variance diminished


66
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Fathers Occupation Short-Order Cook
" * r1" ~
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Maid (private home)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying playing cards,
basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXX State (code)XXXXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4,0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer


10
Linville and Jones (1980) have developed and tested a model that
purports to explain the extreme (polarized) appraisals given to out
group members. The researchers propose that persons rating out-group
(dissimilar) members and in-group (similar) members with identical
credentials will tend to evaluate the out-group member more extremely.
The direction of the evaluation should depend on the positivity or
negativity of the information.
In a series of studies testing their model, Linville and Jones'
predictions were confirmed. A Black law school applicant with strong
credentials was judged more favorably on 16 bipolar adjectives than a
White applicant with identical credentials. When both the Black and
White applicant's credentials were weak, the Black applicant was rated
more negatively than the White applicant. These results were duplicated
when females were used as the out-group.
One explanation proposed by Linville and Jones as to why out-group
evaluations proved more extreme than evaluations of in-group evaluations
is that the subjects (White males) had a more complex schema (greater
familiarity) of in-group applicants and tended to mix their evaluations
of the in-group members' credentials, seeing them as neither all good
nor all bad. Judgements of out-group members, on the other hand, are
made solely on the basis of the information given because the subject
may actually know very little about these group members other than what
is provided by the credentials sheet. Because of this lack of familiarity,
more weight is given to the provided information. This results in eva
luative extremity.
Linville and Jones place their study in the context of affirmative
action programs. Depending on an observer's conceptualization or schema


APPENDIX D
PERSONALITY PROFILE


80
Johnson, C. S. Growing up in the black belt. New York: Schocken,
1967.
Jones, E. E., and Davis, K. E. From acts to dispositions: The attri
bution process in person perception. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),
Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2). New York:
Academic Press, 1965.
Kalven, H., and Zeisel, H. The American jury. Chicago: The Univer
sity of Chicago Press, 1966.
Katz, I., and Glass, D. An ambivalence-amplification theory of behavior
toward the stigmatized. In W. G. Austin and Stephen Worchel
(Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth, Inc., 1979-
Katz, I., Glass, D. C., and Cohen, S. Ambivalence, guilt and scapegoating
of minority group victims. Journal of Experimental Social Psychol
ogy 1973, 9, 923-436.
Kelley, H. H. Attribution in social interaction. Morriston, N. J.:
General Learning Press, 1971.
Kelley, H. H. The processes of causal attribution. American Psychol
ogist, 1973, 28, 107-128.
Konecni, V. J., and Ebbesen, E. B. An analysis of the sentencing sys
tem. In V. J. Konecni and E. B. Ebbesen (Eds.), The criminal
justice system: A social-psychological analysis. San Francisco:
W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982.
Landy, D., and Aronson, E. The influence of the criminal and his vic
tim on the decisions of simulated jurors. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 141-152.
Linton, R. The study of man. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1936.
Linville, P. W., and Jones, E. E. Polarized appraisals of out-group
members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 198O, 5,
689-703.
Marks, E. S. Skin color judgements of Negro college students. Journal
of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1943, 38, 370-376.
Newcomb, Theodore. The acquaintance process. New York: Holt, Rinehart,
and Winston, 1961.
Rosenberg, S., and Sedlack, A. Structural representations of implicit-
personality theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experi-
raental social psychology (Vol. 6). New York: Academic Press,
1972.
Schlenker, B. R. Impression management: The self-concept, social
identity, and interpersonal relations. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks-
Cole Publishing Company, 1980.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT vii
CHAPTER
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 THE PROPOSED STUDY 18
Design of the Study 18
Method 19
Subjects 19
Materials 19
Procedure 22
3 RESULTS 24
Preliminary Procedures 24
Manipulations Check 24
Major Analyses 26
4 DISCUSSION 41
APPENDICES
A EXPERIMENTER SCRIPT 53
B CRim REPORT FORM 59
C OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM 68
D PERSONALITY PROFILE 71
E SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION 73
v


35
Table 6
Group Means for Achievement
on Criminality Factor
Achievement
Level
Mean
Criminality
Rating
Std. Deviation
High
3.70
.71
n = 83
Low
4.08
.67
3
M
00
Note: Means are significantly different at a = .05; 1 = low in criminal
characteristics, 5 = high in criminal characteristics.


8
Although their predominate interest was in hiring practices, the
Butt and Signori study has implications for many forms of social inter
action. Depending upon the situation, certain combinations of the six
factors identified in the study may become of greater or lesser impor
tance. Employer-employee relations may make one set of factors salient
(e.g., ability, fortitude, and appearance), while teacher-pupil relation
ships may center around other factors (e.g., ability and outspokenness).
Decisions regarding the sentencing of criminal offenders may make yet
another set of variables salient (e.g., sincerity, or ability as it re
lates to one's potential to create a crime-free life for oneself).
The relationship between actual or implied social images of a
stimulus person and subjects' behavior toward that stimulus person does
not necessarily follow a readily predictable order. Dovidio and Gaertner
0977), in an investigation of how race, status, and ability of a stimulus
person affect helping behavior of subjects toward that stimulus person,
found that White male subjects helped confederate Black subordinates
regardless of ability more often than they helped Black supervisors.
Subjects helped White confederates on the basis of ability, with high
ability supervisors receiving greatest help and low ability subordinates
receiving least help. Thus, subjects seemed to favor working with
Black subordinates over Black supervisors, even when the ability of the
confederate subordinate was higher than the subjects' abilities. How
ever, subjects seemed to favor Whites on the basis of ability, and high
ability White confederates elicited more help than low ability White
confederates, re^rdless of status. Dovidio and Gaertner concluded
that the threat of traditional role reversal, rather than beliefs about
ability differences, is a major force underlying much of the resistance
to affirmative action programs.


F POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET 76
BIBLIOGRAPHY 78
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 82
vi


APPENDIX C
OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM


57
Okay, I will now distribute the packets. Remember to address any
and all questions to me if any should arise while you are completing
the sheets. "The experimenter directs each subject to a booth. Once
subjects are seated, experimenter distributes one packet to each person.
Each packet contains the crime report sheet with photograph attached,
the Offender Disposition Rating, the Personality Profile, and the Sen
tence Recommendation form. Please work as quietly as you can. If
you should happen to have any questions at all, please let me know and
we can step outside. Any questions? fPause for questions.) Okay, you
may begin.
'The experimenter should sit in an available but unobtrusive place.
As subjects complete the evaluations, the experimenter should watch to
make sure subjects place the scales and the profiles back into the
envelopes. When all subjects have completed the evaluations given him/
her, the experimenter should collect the packets.)
Okay, now I have one other set of questions I need you to answer
about the offender. Let me know when you are finished with this and I
have one other thing for you. 'Experimenter gives subjects the post
session questionnaire. After subjects complete this sheet, experimenter
distributes the Personal Data Sheet. Following the completion of this
sheet, experimenter will call subjects back together for debriefing.)


44
study of partner choices in a problem-solving situation. Thus, as the
situation shifts, and as the type of decision that must be made changes,
the importance of certain person variables may also shift. For example,
Shaw and Gilchrist (1955) found that as task failure became a major con
cern to task participants, partner abilities became more important than
group maintenance.
It appears that the importance of a particular variable in the
attribution process may be a function of (1) the situation and the de
cisions observers are required to make, (2) the quality and quantity of
information observers have about the stimulus persons, (3) qualities of
the stimulus person, and (4) qualities of the decision maker. In the
present study, the offenders were depicted as members of a particular
racial group (Black), and within this racial classification skin color
was either very dark or very light. Each alleged offender was presented
as belonging to either a relatively high or low socio-economic status,
and each was depicted as either a high, achiever academically or a low
achiever. Respondents were therefore presented with three types of in
formation about the offender whose case they examined, and the respon
dents could have used any one variable, any combination of variables, or
none of these variables, as a decision-making or evaluation aid in rating
the offenders on the dependent measures.
Assuming that perceived character was the basis of subjects' eva
luations and sentencing of the offenders, the non-significance of SES
in the present study indicates that subjects may have perceived SES to
be less of an index of the stimulus person's character than his achieve
ment. The presence of an achievement effect and absence of an effect
due to SES is by no means indicative of any greater importance of achieve
ment over socio-economic status in the attribution process as a whole.


43
Rosenberg and Sedlack (1972) found that an individual who is perceived as
intelligent is also likely to be perceived as friendly. Some of the stu
dies in interpersonal attraction discussed in Chapter 1 suggest that
observers often believe that a person who is physically beautiful is also
abundant in other positive traits (Dion, Berschied, and Dials ter, 1974).
As discussed in Chapter 1, Butt and Signori (1976) found that ob
servers hold certain beliefs and attitudes about others' abilities, sin
cerity, sense of security, etc., on the basis of the ethnic group or
social group to which those others belong. Group membership was viewed
as providing a source of information beyond mere classification or cate
gorization. The respondents in the Butt and Signori study apparently
believed group membership was an index of attitude, behavior, and ability.
Similar to the findings from Rosenberg and Sedlack's (19"72) study,
it appears that the implicit theory of personality mediated subjects'
evaluations of the offenders. The ratings subjects gpve offenders on the
Virtues factor seem to indicate that offenders who were high achievers
were also perceived as reliable, sincere, likable, ambitious, and happy.
Subjects did not believe these characteristics were descriptive of low
achievers. These assumptions apparently influenced subjects in their
evaluations of offenders.
It seems reasonable to believe that, depending on the situation,
some characteristics or traits may be more heavily weighted than others.
For example, it is understandable that physical appearance would play a
very dominant role in a study of dating choices; however, even though
it has been demonstrated that physical attractiveness is a very potent
variable in interpersonal relationships, the role of physical attractive
ness might be diminished if it were competing against competence in a


63
Case ID#
Low Socio-Economic Status
High Achievement
Name XXXXX
XXXXX
XXXXX
Last
First
Middle
DOB
XXXXX
Age 25
Race
B
Sex:
M F
Height 510"
Weight
185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate).
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)


62
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades 4, 5, 6)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing,
horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code)XXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4.0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major
area of study and grade-point.


27
substantially after the first factor. Therefore, only one ODR factor
and one Personality factor merited inclusion in further analyses.
Items with a leading of 0.50 or above were retained for the ODR
factor and the Personality factor. In each case, items of 0.50 loading
or above that were negative attributes were reverse scored and summed
with the positively worded items. This sum, divided by the number of
items, was used to compute group means on the factor.
The factor retained from the ODR items, labeled Criminality due
to the high loading of items related to the offender's criminal motives,
accounted for 22 percent of the variance. Table 1 gives the four items
comprising this factor and their factor loadings.
The retained Personality factor was labeled Virtues due to the
high loading of items reflecting virtuous personal qualities of the of
fender. This factor accounted for 21 percent of the variance. Items
selected to comprise this factor and their loadings are given in Table 2.
In order to test for experimenter bias, experimenter conditions,
and condition effects, a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was
conducted using the factors Criminality, Virtues, and sentence recom
mendation as the dependent measures. This analysis revealed overall
non-significance of the experimenter, F (6, 280) -0.73, p > .05, as well
as non-significance of experimenter X condition effects, F (42, 419) =
1.06, p > .05. The overall model for conditions was highly significant,
F (21, 419) = 2.89, p < .001, thus revealing that the various conditions
were successful in eliciting differential ratings from subjects. The
results of the MANOVA for these effects are summarized in Table 3.
In order to determine the effects of specific independent vari
ables on the dependent measures, Criminality, Virtues, and sentence


6
that makes it such a potent variable. In a study of liking behavior as
a function of race of the stimulus person, Allen found that his sub
jects (White males and females) tended to group all racially different
(Black) stimulus persons into an "unattractive" category, regardless of
the level of pre-judged attractiveness of each stimulus person. This
effect was especially prevalent for White females rating Black males.
It appears that the subjects in Allen's study discounted physical
attractiveness as an antecedent to liking when the stimulus person was
an out-group member. Had Allen's subjects been asked to complete a
profile of their expected personality and behavioral characteristics of
each stimulus person, it might have been possible to determine whether
subjects expected Black stimulus persons to possess objectionable charac
teristics and therefore rejected them, or whether Black stimulus persons
were rejected solely on the basis of their racial dissimilarity to the
subjects. It may be that Allen's subjects were responding to a per
ceived social norm dictating that out-group members not be considered
for more than casual associations, or it is possible that subjects
possessed a negative social imags of Blacks, thereby leading to their
rejection.
Butt and Signori (1976) demonstrated that beliefs about the group
or groups to which a stimulus person belongs can influence observers'
evaluations of individual stimulus persons. Butt and Signori examined
the impact of the social images of eight groups on hiring decisions.
Two groups (average adults and women) were used as baselines by which
to compare the attributes ascribed to six other groups. These six groups
were mental retardates, ex-mental patients, ex-criminals, hippies,


Case ID#
POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
Even though you were not asked to make a decision as to whether the de
fendant in the case you examined was guilty or not guilty, think back
to the case you examined and respond to the items below. Place a double
X (XX). in the appropriate spaces.
1. The defendant in the last case I examined, in my belief, is
definitely guilty
most probably guilty
possibly guilty
possibly not guilty
most probably not guilty
definitely not guilty.
2. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the ratings you gpve the defendant on the scales?
Yes, a great deal
Yes, somewhat
Yes, a little
No, not a great deal
No, hardly at all
No, not at all.
3. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the sentence recommendation you made for that defendant?
Yes, a great deal
Yes, somewhat
Yes, but only a little
No, not a great deal
No, hardly at all
No, not at all.
76


APPENDIX F
POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
My gratitude is extended to my committee chairman, Dr. Marvin E.
Shaw, whose sense of psychology, humanity, and humor have made him a
valuable asset. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Richard R. Scott,
who, on innumerable occasions, put aside his own work to assist me with
mine. Thank you. I wish also to thank Dr. Larry Severy, Dr. Rodman
Webb, and Dr. Franz Epting for their encouragement.
I am appreciative to yearbook editors Michael Johnson, Leon
McCombs, and photographer Whitney Young of Edward Waters College, Florida
A & M University, and Morehouse College, respectively, for their assis
tance and advice in ny efforts to conduct this study.
I would like to thank Dr. G. W. Mingo, Director of the University
of Florida Division of Special Services and Upward Bound Program, for
providing the yearbooks from which the photographs for this study were
taken. I also thank my experimenters Midge Schwartz, Bill Coughlin, and
David Posey.
To innumerable other persons who have been sources of friendship
throughout, thank you.
IV


29
Table 2
Items Comprising Virtues Factor
Item
Loading
Affectionate
0.56
Loyal
0.68
Unpredictable
-0.55
Forceful
-0.57
Truthful
0.73
Reliable
0.76
Sincere
0.82
Likable
0.77
Ambitious
0.70
Tender
0.67
Happy
0.57
Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the
first factor.


4
whether the defendant was or was not eligible for release on bail fol
lowing arrest. Ebbesen and Konecni contend that though judges discuss
such variables as offender's family connections and occupational status,
such discussions were not related to the offender's sentence. The re
searchers contend that sentencing hearings in which the judge hears the
defense and the prosecuting attorney's perceptions of the offender are
merely a "show" that serves to obscure the real factors influencing
sentencing and serves to further advance the myth of individualized
justice.
It is highly possible that Ebbesen and Konecni's finding differ
markedly from other field and laboratory studies because of their de
pendence on judges' verbalization of ideas. It is possible that judges'
experiences with crime and criminal offenders, their knowledge of the
law, and their ability to adhere strictly to legal information led to
their ultimate sentencing decisions. However, it is also possible that
Ebbesen and Konecni's findings differ so markedly from other field and
laboratory research because even though a judge my have considered cer
tain extra-legal variables in arriving at his/her sentencing decision,
he/she may have chosen not to verbalize those variables. This choice
could be a conscious or subconscious one, and could be motivated by the
judges' desire to appear unbiased. There is also the fact that judges
realize their decisions are binding and open to public scrutiny and
criticism. Subjects in a laboratory study are invariably aware that
they are not really judges, and their decisions, though perhaps based on
their attitudes and beliefs about the offender's need for punishment,
are not binding. The pressure to appear unbiased may not be as strong
with laboratory subjects as with real judges. Thus, subjects my be


7
North American Indians, and Black Americans. The purpose of the study
was to determine whether the social images of these groups affected the
plight of individual group members in hiring situations. It was found
that subjects held certain beliefs and attitudes about individuals based
on the group membership. Six major factors were extracted from the study.
These were (1) appearance (individual applicant should be pleasant to
the eye), (2) sincerity (individual should be compassionate, kind, honest,
etc.), (3) ability (individual should be intelligent, talented, sensi
tive, and should have a sense of humor), (4) outspokenness (individual
should be low in bragging, gossip, and vanity and higfi in modesty and
reticence), (5) fortitude (individual should display strength, courage,
independence, etc.), and (6) security (individual should appear unworried,
contented, and serene).
As was hypothesized, the categories Average Adults received high
scores on each factor. The highest score for this group was in appearance,
fortitude, and security. Women received high scores on appearance,
security, sincerity, and creative ability, but compared to average adults,
women were disadvantaged in two categories. Women were rated as higa
in outspokenness and extremely low in fortitude. Blacks received rela
tively neutral ratings on all factors. However, subjects gave Blacks
negative ratings on appearance and Blacks received highly negative
security ratings.
It should be noted that Butt and Signori did not use photographic
representations or other representation of the stimulus groups. The
investigation relied strictly upon the mental images subjects had of
each group.


OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING
Case ID#
Instructions: Circle the number that indicates the extent to which you
believe each disposition stated below reflects the offender's disposition.
Use the key below in responding.
Key:
1 = Strongly Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
2 = Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
3 = Neither believe nor disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender.
4 = Do Not Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
5 = Strongly Disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
Based on my impression gathered through the information provided on this
case, the individual in Case ID# :
1
realizes the seriousness of his/her offense.
2. has a violent temper.
3. will probably commit this offense again if not
adequately punished.
4. regrets having committed this offense.
5. has other unreported offenses.
6. may also be involved in substance (drug) abuse.
7. comes from a weak family background.
8. does not take his/her offense seriously.
9. would benefit from punishment.
10. is a productive person.
11. is a concerned and conscientious person.
12. committed the chared act under his/her own accord.
13. would benefit from a drug rehabilitation program.
14. would suffer unduly if imprisoned.
15. is a basically cooperative person.
16. is an untrustworty person.
1?. has solid abilities to judgje right and wrong.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
68


55
the place of a face-to-face interview, but we do feel they are helpful
in helping us to simulate actual counseling situations.
In a moment, I will give each of you one case. I would like for
you to very careflilly examine the case. As a court counselor would do,
you are to use the given information to form an overall impression of
the individual. We would like for you to use the scale labeled Per
sonality Profile (hold form up for subjects' viewing) to record your
impression of the individual. This scale features 25 adjectives similar
to those a court counselor would use in his/her write-up of the indivi
dual. To save time, we are asking that you simply use the appropriate
number from the scale at the top of the page to indicate the extent to
which you believe the adjective given describes the individual. For
example, if you believe that this description is occasionally true of
the individual, you would place the number four in the space next to
the word "cooperative."
Since it is important to form some kind of impression as to the
offender's behavioral and attitudinal tendencies, a disposition scale
is provided for each person. On this scale, you should check the extent
to which you agree or disagree as to whether the stated disposition
reflects the offender's disposition. As you can probably gjess, this
type of information is extremely important to the judge since the of
fender's disposition often tells a great deal about the type of sen
tencing needed. Therefore, be as conscientious as possible in forming
and recording your impressions.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you are asked to make one
of a number of commonly used sentencing recommendations for the indi
vidual, keeping in mind the nature and seriousness of the offense and


65
Case ID#
Low Socio-Economic Status
Low Achievement
Name
XXXXX
XXXXX
XXXXX
Last
. First
Middle
DOB
XXXXX
Age 25
Race
B
Sex:
M F
Height 5'10"
Weight
185
Description of 0ffense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the bavoe suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate).
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)


49
information given about the stimulus person. Positive information yields
a positive polarization while negative information yields a negative
polarization. Identical information provided about in-group members
(persons with whom observers can identify on some basis such as race,
sex, etc.) will yield moderate rather than extreme ratings.
If this hypothesis is applied here, it would seem to suggest that
the subjects had less of a schema for evaluating lighter complexioned
Blacks than they had for evaluating darker complexioned Blacks. The
relatively extreme scores assigned to the lighter stimulus persons as
compared to darker stimulus persons suggest that subjects viewed the
lighter Blacks as somewhat of an anomaly. If this is in fact the case,
it may be that the lighter complexioned Blacks in the photographs de
viated from subjects' conceptualization of Blacks. If subjects had no
schema for evaluating these individuals, they would be expected to rely
very heavily on the nature of the information given them about the of
fender. In this case, subjects relied on the achievement information,
giving high positive ratings to high achievers and low negative ratings
to low achievers.
One implication of the interaction between color and achievement
in the present study is that the perpetual focus on race as a variable
in socio-behavioral research may have served to obscure the significance
of other variables that may be equally active in the process of person
evaluation and social interaction.
Perhaps the major implication of the findings discussed here is
something that has been well-known in the social and behavioral sciences
for a very long time. Extra-situational person variables can and do
affect our perceptions and evaluations of others in a variety of situations.


EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER:
THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS'SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND COLOR ON
PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING
BY
SONJA MARIE PETERSON-LEWIS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1983


61
Case ID#
Higji Socio-Economic Status
Low Achievement
Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Last First Middle
DOB XXXXX Age 25 Hace B
Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, Iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate)
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)


47
be related to commission of further criminal acts would be perceived
more positively.
It follows from the more positive evaluations given to higji achievers
that less severe sentences would be recommended for this group. The
present study shows support for this line of reasoning. The mean sentence
recommendation for high achievers was lower (less severe) than that for
low achievers. Sentences for both groups were lower than the sentences
indicated as the states maximum sentence, which may indicate that, on
the average, subjects felt this sentence was too harshor at least too
harsh for the offenders being considered. It should be noted, however,
that life imprisonment with a chance of parole (the second most severe
sentence described) was recommended at least once, indicating that not
all subjects viewed the state's sentence (15 years imprisonment and a
$200,000 fine) as too harsh, unless, of course, some respondents valued
money over freedom.
It is interesting to note that despite the differences in sentence
recommendations for high and low achievers, responses to the post
session questionnaire indicate that subjects did not perceive high
achievers to be any less guilty of the criminal act than low achievers.
Thus, it appears that even though high achievers were viewed as probably
guilty, subjects did not perceive high achievers to need as much punish
ment as low achievers needed. Since sentencing was a discretionary
matter, with each subject being allowed to recommend any of the 15 sen
tences he/she desired, it appears that high achievers were the bene
ficiaries of this discretion. If this outcome is relevant to the sen
tencing of offenders in real criminal cases, it may help -explain why
there is often discrepancy in real jury and judicial sentencing. The


PERSONALITY PROFILE
Case ID#
Using the response key below, rate the defendant in Case # on
each trait/characteristic.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
I I I I I __I I
Never or Usually Sometimes Occasion- Often Usually Almost
Almost not true but infre- ally true true always
never true quently true true true
1. Moody
2. Independent
3. Shy
4. Theatrical
5. Affectionate
6. Loyal
7 S trong persona1ity
8. Unpredictable
9. Forceful
10. Feminine
11. Truthful
12. Reliable
13. Sincere
14. Likable
15. Conceited
16. Masculine
17. Childlike
18. Ambitious
19. Conventional
20. Willing to take risks
21. Uses harsh language
22. Tender
23. Gullible
24. Dominant
25. Happy
71


14
of this type. Very little research seems to have addressed the variables
affecting the evaluation of two or more out-groups. This is perhaps
because of the strong effects variables such as race have had in yielding
significant differences between groups. The focus on race may have ob
scured the importance of other variables. In a great deal of research,
there appears to be an implicit assumption that observers only dif
ferentiate between groups and not within groups. A substantial amount
of research has shown, however, that this is not the case. There is
evidence of evaluation differences based on intra-racial variables as
well.
A primary example of possible differences in intra-racial evalua
tions is revealed in the work of a number of researchers who have reported
that Black subjects show a tendency to assign positive characteristics
to lighter Blacks and to assign less positive and even negative traits
and characteristics to darker-skinned Black persons (Anderson and Crom
well, 1976; Brown, 1970; Davenport, 1969; Johnson, 1967: and Marks,
1943'. Skin color therefore appears to be a rather potent person vari
able among Blacks. (It is altogether probable that among other ethnic
groups, the skin color variable as well as other physical attribute
variables operates to differentially affect observers' responses toward
members of those groups.)
Among Black Americans, skin color has been an issue of great ego-
involvement because opportunities and concessions afforded Black Americans
were often based on skin color, with lighter-skinned Blacks in many in
stances being afforded greater opportunities and concessions than darker
Blacks. According to social judgement theory (Sherif and Hovland, 1961),
the degree of importance an issue has with an individual determines the


In summary, the academic achievement index of the alleged offenders
appears to have held the central role in determining the respondents'
perceptions of the offenders' criminal motivations and personal virtues.
High achieving offenders were perceived as having less motivation for
criminal activity than low achievers, and high achievers were also per
ceived as having greater personal virtues than low achievers. The
higher ratings on personal virtues and the lower ratings on criminal
motivations were positively related to high achieving offenders' lower
mean sentence recommendation.
One possible explanation for the prevalence of the achievement
variable over the other offender variables is that subjects perhaps
viewed the offender's achievement level as a trait around which all other
offender characteristics could be interpreted. Along these lines, Asch
(1946) found that substituting the word "warm" or "cold" in a group of
descriptive adjectives led to significantly different evaluations of the
stimulus persons these adjectives supposedly described. Asch's subjects
appeared to have clear expectations as to which characteristics fit well
with "warm" and "cold" personalities. Similarly, participants in the
present study seemed to have expectations as to the characteristics that
fit well with high achievement and low achievement. They also seemed to
make some assumptions as to the extent of punishment appropriate for high
achievers and low achievers.
Some of these findings may also be explained by the implicit theory
of personality, which holds that observers often make assumptions about
the type of traits that belong together. Thus, given that an individual
possesses or displays one trait or characteristic, we tend to make assump
tions about other traits or characteristics that individual possesses.


77
Date
Case ID#
Time
Reviewer ID#
4. What is your age? Sex: Male Female
5. Race (circle one): Black White Hispanic Oriental
Other (please specify)
6. What is your classification?
7. What is your major or intended major?
8. In what city and state were you born?
city state
How long did you live in the above location?
9. In what city would you say you grew up?
city state
10.Please circle the category below that you believe most closely esti
mates your family's annual income.
a.
below $5,000
b.
$5,000 -
- $10,000
c.
$10,000
- $15,000
d.
$15,000
- $20,000
e.
$20,000
- $25,000
f.
$25,000
- $30,000
g.
$30,000
- $35,000
h.
$35,000
- $40,000
i.
$40,000
- $45,000
j.
$45,000
- $50,000
k.
$50,000
- $55,000
1.
$55,000
- above
11. Would you describe yourself as being from the (a) lower (b) lower
middle (c) middle (d) upper middle, or (e) upper socio-economic
stratum? (enter appropriate letter)
12. What is your fathers occupation?
13. What is your mother's occupation?
14. What is your current grade-point average? (circle appropriate category)
a. currently below 2.0
b. 2.0 2.3
c. 2.3 2.5
d. 2.5 2.9
e. 3.0 3.3
f. 3.3 3.5
g. 3.5 3.7
h. 3.7 4.0


Case ID#
High Socio-Economic Status
High Achievement
Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Last First Middle
DOB XXXXX Age 25_ Race _J3
Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to
whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Information
given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the above
suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908
grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value.
Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, isomeriza
tion devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with
(1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law), (2)
attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and
(4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate)
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)
59


22
with a plausible range of punishment for the crime with which the of
fender was charged. The imprisonment terms and fine recommended by
State Stature were included, and sentences above and below this term were
provided. An asterisk indicated the States mandatory sentence. Sen
tences ranged from life imprisonment without chance of parole to commu
nity service. The Sentence Recommendation form appears in Appendix E.
Post-session questionnaire. A three-item Post-Session Question
naire was included. The purpose of the questionnaire was to determine
(1) the extent to which the subject believed the offender was guilty of
the crime with which he was charged, (2) the extent to which this belief
affected the subject's rating of the offender on the Offender Disposition
Rating and Personality Profile items, and (3) the extent to which this
belief affected the sentence the subject recommended for the offender.
Finally, a personal data sheet was included to determine the sub
ject's sex, race, classification, grade-point average, parental occu
pation and parent's estimated income.
Experimenters. Two White male undergraduates and one White female
undergraduate served as experimenters for the study. The number of cases
submitted to analysis for experimenters 1 (male), 2 (male), and 3 (female)
were 55, 41, and 71, respectively, with an approximately equal number
of male and female subjects represented in each total. Analyses con
ducted to detect effects due to experimenters are reported in the Results
section.
Procedure
Upon arrival at the laboratory, subjects were seated together at
a table. The experimenter explained that the purpose of the study was
to evaluate the necessity of an extensive training program in offender


CHAPTER 3
RESULTS
Preliminary Procedures
Due to incidents of missing data and an unequal number of subjects
having been retained across experimenters, the present data were analyzed
using procedures especially equipped to analyze unbalanced designs. The
General Linear Models (GLM) procedures as described in the Statistical
Analysis System (SAS) User's Guide (pp. 237-263, 1979) was employed in
all analysis of variance procedures, and least squares means rather than
arithmetic means were computed for the various groups. The GLM procedure
provides computational methods that estimate missing values so as to
avoid bias due to imbalance.
Prior to analysis, three groups of respondent variables were col
lapsed to facilitate interpretation of results. The four classification
groups (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) were collapsed to
form two groups with freshmen and sophomores comprising group 1 and
juniors and seniors comprising group 2. Income levels were collapsed
as follows: level A = Group 1, B and C = Group 2, D and F = Group 3,
F and G = Group 4, H and I = Group 5, J and K = Group 6, and L = Group 7.
Grade-point average groups were collapsed so as to form four groups with
A = Group 1, B, C, and D = Group 2, E and F = Group 3, and G = Group 4.
Manipulations Check
In order to determine the salience of the socio-economic status
and achievement manipulations, group scores on Offender Disposition
24


9
It appears apparent from the Dovidio and Gaertner (1977^ study
discussed above that even though certain factors evolve as important
in certain kinds of interactions (intergroup or business, for example),
those factors do not necessarily operate identically for Blacks and
Whites. In some cases, completely different factors may be operative
as was the case in Dovidio and Gaertner's study. In other cases, it is
possible that different levels of identical factors (interactions)
operate for Blacks and Whites.
Dientsbier (1970) found that the evaluations received by Black
and White stimulus persons on the basis of bogus personal data profiles
were not identical across levels of the social desirability of the pro
files. Blacks with socially desirable characteristics were evaluated
more positively and liked more than Whites with identical socially
desirable characteristics. Blacks with socially undesirable charac
teristics were liked less than Whites with socially undesirable charac
teristics. Evaluations of Black stimulus persons by White subjects
tended to be exaggerated or polarized. Subjects saw positive trait
Blacks as being very good and negative trait Blacks as being very bad,
while White stimulus persons with similar traits received moderate
ratings. This finding may explain in part why it is often assumed that
a Black offender facing an all-White jury is more likely to receive a
harsh sentence than a White offender accused of the same crime. Assuming
that being an accused criminal is a socially undesirable characteristic,
it follows that a Black offender might be viewed more negatively by
White jurors (perhaps because of fear, perceived threat, etc.,) than a
White offender.


69
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
Case ID#
has family members who can help him/her avoid further 1 2 3
involvement in illegal activities.
poses a general threat to society. 1 2 3
is a considerably intelligent person. 1 2 3
has a negative self-concept. 1 2 3
is a hostile person. 1 2 3
will likely become involved in some other type of 123
illegal activity at some point.
is a responsible person. 1 2 3
needs to serve time in a correctional facility in 123
order to be deterred from further illegal activity.
can be steered away from crime through witnessing ~ 1 2 3
tine trial process and may therefore not be in need of
imprisonment. ... v
is now able to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3
lacks the skills to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3
would be hurt more than helped by Imprisonment. 1 2 3
committed the charged act under coercion (force or 123
persuasion) by others.
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5


23
evaluation and sentencing. They were told that the chief concern of the
researcher was whether untrained college students could make evaluations
and sentencing reco miren da tions that were as discerning and as valid as
those made by the extensively trained persons. The complete Experimenter
Script is given in Appendix A.
After responding to questions subjects may have had about the
task, the experimenter handed each subject a sealed packet containing
the crime report (with photograph attached), and the rating scales.
Each subject was seated in a private booth with a curtain.
Following completion of the ratings, the Post-Session Questionnaire
and personal data sheet were administered. Upon completion of these,
subjects were again seated together and debriefed by the experimenter.
Any remaining questions were answered, and subjects were dismissed.


20
one stimulus person with one SES X Achievement combination. Each packet
was distributed an equal number of times across male and females by
each experimenter.
Content of the stimulus packets. Photographs were attached to a
bogus crime report sheet. This sheet provided false personal informa
tion (height, weight, age) about the stimulus person (offender), the
crime with which the individual was charged (cocaine trafficking in
each case), parental occupations, hobbies and pasttime activities, and
college grade-point average. A sample crime report is given in Appendix
B.
Rating materials used in the present study included (1) a 30-item
Offender Disposition Rating scale on which subjects indicated their
beliefs about the offender's disposition. The items were composed on
the basis of research on the variables that purportedly influence
judicial sentencing decisions. As reviewed in the introduction, Hemphill
(1978) lists these variables as (1) type of crime, (2) offender's pre
vious offenses, (3) offender's age, (4) family connections and perceived
ability of the family members to provide guidance for the offender,
(5) whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether
the crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or
part of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that
the offender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be
rehabilitated. Though they argue against the impact of these, Ebbesen
and Konecni (1981) note that such factors as (1) social background, and
(2) personal and psychological characteristics of the offender are often
reputed to be taken into account by judges in their sentencing deci
sions .


19
Method
Subjects
Participants were 197 undergraduate students at the University of
Florida. One hundred and ei^ity-seven of these were General Psychology
students who completed the study as part of an experimental participation
requirement. The remaining 10 participants were Black students who com
pleted the study on a voluntary, non-credit basis. Due to the small num
ber of Black subjects available, data for the 10 volunteers and data for
six Black General Psychology students were not submitted to analysis.
Due to missing data, fourteen of the remaining cases were excluded.
Final participants were thus 167 White male and female students enrolled
in General Psychology. This number represents 85 males and 82 females.
Materials
Preparation of the stimulus packets. Black-and-white photographs
of Black males were obtained from an out-of-state college yearbook. Due
to the color variable in the study, selection was restricted to photo
graphs of persons who were clearly dark or clearly light in complexion.
Photographs were rated by three independent judges on a scale of one to
seven on attractiveness, and those photographs with similar mean attrac
tiveness rating? were retained. Four males of dark complexion and four
males of light complexion were retained.
From additional copies of the yearbook, three additional photo
graphs of each stimulus person were obtained. Thus, there were four
photographs of each stimulus person. Each of the stimulus persons
within each color group was paired with each of the four SES X Achieve
ment combinations. The purpose of this arrangement was to minimize the
probability of evaluations being contingent upon the pairing of any


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Anderson, C., and Cromwell, R. "Black is Beautiful" and the color
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Asch, S. E. Forming impressions of personality. Journal of Abnormal
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Austin, W., Walster, E., and Utne, M. Equity and the law: The effect
of a harmdoer's "suffering in the act" on liking and assigned
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Berscheid, E., and Walster, E. Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz
(Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. "). New
York: Academic Press, 1974.
Brown, C. Black is not beautiful. Unpublished bachelor's thesis (1970).
In R. L. Jones (Ed.), Black psychology. New York: Harper and
Row, 1972.
Bullock, H. A. Significance of the racial factor in the length of
prison sentences. Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and
Police Science, 1961, 52, 411-417.
Butt, D. S., and Signori, E. J. Social images of disadvantaged groups.
Social Behavior and Personality, 1976, 4(2), 145-151.
Byrne, D. The attraction paradigm New York: Academic Press, 1971.
Byrne, D., Clore, G., and Worchell, P. Effect of economic similarity-
dissimilarity on interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 220-224.
Byrne, D., and Nelson, D. Attraction as a linear function of proportion
of positive reinforcements. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 1965, 56 9 -663.
Chambliss, W., and Seidman, R. Law, order, and power. Reading, Mass.:
Addison-Wesley, 1971.
73


CHAPTER A
DISCUSSION
To briefly review, it was predicted that (1) low SES offenders
would be rated more negatively than higher SES offenders on dispositional
and personality items, (2) the lower evaluations of the low SES offenders
would be positively related to their receiving more severe sentence recom
mendations, (3) low achievers would be evaluated more negatively on dis
position and personality than high achievers, (4) the low evaluations of
low achievers would be positively related to their receiving more severe
sentence recommendations than high achievers, (5) Black subjects would
show a tendency to differentiate on the basis of color more than White
subjects, and (6) females would impose harsher sentences than males.
Results showed that the SES of the offender did not play a sig
nificant role in e-valuations or sentencing: thus, Hypotheses 1 and 2
were not confirmed. The offender's achievement level had a highly sig
nificant effect on the evaluation of the offender and a highly signifi
cant effect on sentencing, although the overall model for .sentence
recommendation was only marginally significant. Thus, Hypothesis 3 was
confirmed while it only can be said that Hypothesis 4 was moderately
supported. The fifth hypothesisthat Black subjects would differentiate
more than White subjects on the basis of offenders' colorcould not be
tested due to the insufficient number of Black subjects available for the
study. Severity of sentence recommendation was not significantly affected
by sex of the subject; thus, Hypothesis 6 was not confirmed.
41


EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER:
THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS'SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND COLOR ON
PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING
BY
SONJA MARIE PETERSON-LEWIS
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1983

Copyright 1983
by
Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis

Dedicated to Marie Peterson-Lewis

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
My gratitude is extended to my committee chairman, Dr. Marvin E.
Shaw, whose sense of psychology, humanity, and humor have made him a
valuable asset. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Richard R. Scott,
who, on innumerable occasions, put aside his own work to assist me with
mine. Thank you. I wish also to thank Dr. Larry Severy, Dr. Rodman
Webb, and Dr. Franz Epting for their encouragement.
I am appreciative to yearbook editors Michael Johnson, Leon
McCombs, and photographer Whitney Young of Edward Waters College, Florida
A & M University, and Morehouse College, respectively, for their assis
tance and advice in ny efforts to conduct this study.
I would like to thank Dr. G. W. Mingo, Director of the University
of Florida Division of Special Services and Upward Bound Program, for
providing the yearbooks from which the photographs for this study were
taken. I also thank my experimenters Midge Schwartz, Bill Coughlin, and
David Posey.
To innumerable other persons who have been sources of friendship
throughout, thank you.
IV

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT vii
CHAPTER
1 INTRODUCTION 1
2 THE PROPOSED STUDY 18
Design of the Study 18
Method 19
Subjects 19
Materials 19
Procedure 22
3 RESULTS 24
Preliminary Procedures 24
Manipulations Check 24
Major Analyses 26
4 DISCUSSION 41
APPENDICES
A EXPERIMENTER SCRIPT 53
B CRim REPORT FORM 59
C OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM 68
D PERSONALITY PROFILE 71
E SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION 73
v

F POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET 76
BIBLIOGRAPHY 78
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 82
vi

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER:
THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND OOLOR ON
PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING
By
Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis
August 1983
Chairman: Dr. Marvin E. Shaw
Major Department: Psychology
This laboratory experiment examined the effects of Black alleged
criminal offenders' socio-economic status (SES), academic achievement,
and skin color on the personality and criminal attributes White under
graduate males and feriales assigned to these alleged offenders. The in
fluence of these \ariables on subjects' subsequent sentence recommenda
tions was also examined. It was predicted that offenders who were high
in SES, high in achievement, and light in complexion would be assigned
more positive attributes and sentenced less severely than those who
were low in SES, low in achievement, and dark in complexion.
Subjects were given a photograph of a Black male who was an alleged
drug offender. The photograph was attached to a bogas crime report which
provided bogus SES and academic achievement (grade-point average) infor
mation. Socio-economic status and achievement scores were either high
or low, and alleged offenders' complexion was either light or dark. Each
subject rated one stimulus person on 30 dispositional items, 25 person
ality items, and recommended one of 15 sentences that ranged in severity
from life imprisonment to community service.
vi 1

The dispositional items and the personality items were submitted
to factor analysis. A Criminality factor reflecting criminal motivation
and a Virtues factor reflecting personal virtues emerged from the dis
positional items and personality items, respectively. Results showed
that high achievers were perceived as having lower criminal motivations
and higher personal virtues than low achievers. The mean sentence recom
mendation for low achievers was significantly higher than that for high
achievers.
A significant interaction between achievement and color was present
such that light complexioned offenders received polarized (extreme) vir
tue ratings depending on their achievement level. Light complexioned
high achievers received high positive ratings while light complexioned
low achievers received low negative ratings. Dark complexioned offenders
were given relatively moderate ratings with high achievers being rated
more positively than low achievers. No effect of SES was found.
The findings are discussed in terms of the implicit personality
theory and ascribed vs. achieved status.
viii

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Social psychological research has frequently focused upon the ef
fects of stimulus person variables on the attributions observers make
about the stimulus person. The particular characteristics focused upon
are determined by the researchers' purposes. For example, in studies of
liking behavior, the focus has often been on physical appearance (Berscheid
and WaIster, 1974; Dion, Berscheid and Walster, 1972; and Walster, Aronson,
Abrahams and Rottman, 1966). Generally speaking, the findings from this
research demonstrate that the greater the attractiveness of the stimulus
person, the more positive will be the overall evaluations given that
stimulus person by observers, and the greater the degree of liking ex
pressed for that stimulus person.
Similarly, the role of perceived attitude similarity has been ob
served (Byrne, 1971; Byrne and Nelson, 1965; and Newcomb, 1961), as has
the role of economic similarity (Byrne, Clore and Worchell, 1966). Re
sults from this research have shown that the more similar observers per
ceive others to be to themselves, the greater the degree of liking ob
servers express for those others.
Another area of person perception that has received a considerable
amount of attention, and the one with which this study is concerned, is
the area of criminal evaluation and sentencing. Both laboratory and
field research have been undertaken to determine the effects of offender
or defendant-variables on jurors' decisions. Generally, in laboratory
1

2
research of this type, individual subjects or groups of subjects must
make two decisions. First, they must decide whether the defendant is
guilty or not guilty of the crime with which he/she is charged. If the
defendant is found guilty, subjects must then recommend sentence or
level of punishment.
A variety of factors can affect the judgement of guilt or non
guilt and the sentence recommendation. Many of these factors are directly
related to interpersonal attraction and person perception. Efran (1974)
found that the physical attractiveness of the defendant played an im
portant role in determining whether the offender was adjudicated guilty
or not guilty. Attractive defendants were less likely to be found guilty
than were unattractive defendants. Even when found guilty, attractive
defendants were likely to be given a less severe sentence than an un
attractive counterpart. Sigall and Ostrove (1975) found that this
sentencing tendency held true unless the defendant had used his/her
attractiveness in committing the crime.
Once a defendant has been judged guilty, the task of recommending
a sentence or level of punishment is at hand. Depending on the type of
crime, jurors or subjects may have at their discretion a wide range of
sentencing possibilities. A variety of variables other than physical
attractiveness have been found to influence sentencing decisions in both
laboratory and real jury studies.
Hemphill (1978) asserts that some of the factors that can affect
sentence severity are (1) type of crime, (2) offender's previous record,
(3) offender's age, (4) family background and family stability, (5)
whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether the
crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or part

3
of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that the of
fender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be rehabil
itated.
Congruent with Hemphill's view, Tedeschi and Lindskold (1976)
propose that the degree of punishment given a defendant may be based on
subjective predictions about the receptivity of the defendant to a par
ticular type of punishment. Thus, background, previous offenses, status,
and a variety of other offender variables may influence the decisions
an evaluator makes about an offender.
Thornberry (1973), in a study of judicial sentencing of juvenile
offenders, found that Blacks and low socio-economic status (SES) persons
tend to be sentenced more harshly than non-Blacks and higher status per
sons. Thornberry contends that when the number of offenses and the type
of crime is held constant, racial and status differences do not disappear.
Bullock (1961) contended that the harsher sentencing of Blacks may be
motivated by the desire to protect the order of the larger community.
The indication here is that the persons making sentencing decisions per
ceive the Black offender as a threat to tradition or order of the larger
community.
Ebbesen and Konecni (1981), while acknowledging the array of re
search that has demonstrated the effects of variables such as social
background, social status, family connections, etc., on sentencing,
concluded that there is little evidence that these variables are active
in judicial sentencing decisions. Their coding and examination of a
large number of sentencing hearings led them to the conclusion that the
only three factors consistently influencing sentencing decisions were
(1) severity of the crime, (2) offenders' previous offenses, and (3)

4
whether the defendant was or was not eligible for release on bail fol
lowing arrest. Ebbesen and Konecni contend that though judges discuss
such variables as offender's family connections and occupational status,
such discussions were not related to the offender's sentence. The re
searchers contend that sentencing hearings in which the judge hears the
defense and the prosecuting attorney's perceptions of the offender are
merely a "show" that serves to obscure the real factors influencing
sentencing and serves to further advance the myth of individualized
justice.
It is highly possible that Ebbesen and Konecni's finding differ
markedly from other field and laboratory studies because of their de
pendence on judges' verbalization of ideas. It is possible that judges'
experiences with crime and criminal offenders, their knowledge of the
law, and their ability to adhere strictly to legal information led to
their ultimate sentencing decisions. However, it is also possible that
Ebbesen and Konecni's findings differ so markedly from other field and
laboratory research because even though a judge my have considered cer
tain extra-legal variables in arriving at his/her sentencing decision,
he/she may have chosen not to verbalize those variables. This choice
could be a conscious or subconscious one, and could be motivated by the
judges' desire to appear unbiased. There is also the fact that judges
realize their decisions are binding and open to public scrutiny and
criticism. Subjects in a laboratory study are invariably aware that
they are not really judges, and their decisions, though perhaps based on
their attitudes and beliefs about the offender's need for punishment,
are not binding. The pressure to appear unbiased may not be as strong
with laboratory subjects as with real judges. Thus, subjects my be

5
less inhibited in openly basing their decisions about offenders on extra
legpl variables. Though social desirability of response is a factor in
laboratory research, it is perhaps just as mch a factor in judicial
sentencing dispositions. It may be that it is easier to trace subjects'
decisions back to a set of factors than it is to trace real jurors or
judges' decisions. Subjects more often leave some type of concrete
path (an offender rating sheet, for example), than do jurors or judges.
Typically, judges are not asked to rate the offender on a set of vari
ables assumed to be related to sentencing. It may be that consideration
of such variables does occur. However, since judges are not obligated
to verbalize or document these, and since they might prefer that these
be unknown, it can not be definitively concluded that such variables
do not mediate sentencing decisions. It is possible that though studies
of subjects in laboratories do not always produce results identical or
predictive of those in the courtroom, laboratory studies do allow us to
take a better look at the variables that mediate courtroom decisions.
Ebbesen and Konecni's conclusions are contrary to an abundance of
social science research that addresses person perception and decision
making in the context of criminal evaluations, as well as evaluations in
other situations. There is strong evidence from general person percep
tion research that supports the view that seemingly irrelevant person
variables influence observers' evaluations and decisions about stimulus
persons. An examination of some of the research not directly related
to criminal evaluations is beneficial to understanding why certain vari
ables have an influence on attribution and decisions.
One of the most popular variables in social research has been race
Allen (1976) concluded that the high visibility of race is the factor

6
that makes it such a potent variable. In a study of liking behavior as
a function of race of the stimulus person, Allen found that his sub
jects (White males and females) tended to group all racially different
(Black) stimulus persons into an "unattractive" category, regardless of
the level of pre-judged attractiveness of each stimulus person. This
effect was especially prevalent for White females rating Black males.
It appears that the subjects in Allen's study discounted physical
attractiveness as an antecedent to liking when the stimulus person was
an out-group member. Had Allen's subjects been asked to complete a
profile of their expected personality and behavioral characteristics of
each stimulus person, it might have been possible to determine whether
subjects expected Black stimulus persons to possess objectionable charac
teristics and therefore rejected them, or whether Black stimulus persons
were rejected solely on the basis of their racial dissimilarity to the
subjects. It may be that Allen's subjects were responding to a per
ceived social norm dictating that out-group members not be considered
for more than casual associations, or it is possible that subjects
possessed a negative social imags of Blacks, thereby leading to their
rejection.
Butt and Signori (1976) demonstrated that beliefs about the group
or groups to which a stimulus person belongs can influence observers'
evaluations of individual stimulus persons. Butt and Signori examined
the impact of the social images of eight groups on hiring decisions.
Two groups (average adults and women) were used as baselines by which
to compare the attributes ascribed to six other groups. These six groups
were mental retardates, ex-mental patients, ex-criminals, hippies,

7
North American Indians, and Black Americans. The purpose of the study
was to determine whether the social images of these groups affected the
plight of individual group members in hiring situations. It was found
that subjects held certain beliefs and attitudes about individuals based
on the group membership. Six major factors were extracted from the study.
These were (1) appearance (individual applicant should be pleasant to
the eye), (2) sincerity (individual should be compassionate, kind, honest,
etc.), (3) ability (individual should be intelligent, talented, sensi
tive, and should have a sense of humor), (4) outspokenness (individual
should be low in bragging, gossip, and vanity and higfi in modesty and
reticence), (5) fortitude (individual should display strength, courage,
independence, etc.), and (6) security (individual should appear unworried,
contented, and serene).
As was hypothesized, the categories Average Adults received high
scores on each factor. The highest score for this group was in appearance,
fortitude, and security. Women received high scores on appearance,
security, sincerity, and creative ability, but compared to average adults,
women were disadvantaged in two categories. Women were rated as higa
in outspokenness and extremely low in fortitude. Blacks received rela
tively neutral ratings on all factors. However, subjects gave Blacks
negative ratings on appearance and Blacks received highly negative
security ratings.
It should be noted that Butt and Signori did not use photographic
representations or other representation of the stimulus groups. The
investigation relied strictly upon the mental images subjects had of
each group.

8
Although their predominate interest was in hiring practices, the
Butt and Signori study has implications for many forms of social inter
action. Depending upon the situation, certain combinations of the six
factors identified in the study may become of greater or lesser impor
tance. Employer-employee relations may make one set of factors salient
(e.g., ability, fortitude, and appearance), while teacher-pupil relation
ships may center around other factors (e.g., ability and outspokenness).
Decisions regarding the sentencing of criminal offenders may make yet
another set of variables salient (e.g., sincerity, or ability as it re
lates to one's potential to create a crime-free life for oneself).
The relationship between actual or implied social images of a
stimulus person and subjects' behavior toward that stimulus person does
not necessarily follow a readily predictable order. Dovidio and Gaertner
0977), in an investigation of how race, status, and ability of a stimulus
person affect helping behavior of subjects toward that stimulus person,
found that White male subjects helped confederate Black subordinates
regardless of ability more often than they helped Black supervisors.
Subjects helped White confederates on the basis of ability, with high
ability supervisors receiving greatest help and low ability subordinates
receiving least help. Thus, subjects seemed to favor working with
Black subordinates over Black supervisors, even when the ability of the
confederate subordinate was higher than the subjects' abilities. How
ever, subjects seemed to favor Whites on the basis of ability, and high
ability White confederates elicited more help than low ability White
confederates, re^rdless of status. Dovidio and Gaertner concluded
that the threat of traditional role reversal, rather than beliefs about
ability differences, is a major force underlying much of the resistance
to affirmative action programs.

9
It appears apparent from the Dovidio and Gaertner (1977^ study
discussed above that even though certain factors evolve as important
in certain kinds of interactions (intergroup or business, for example),
those factors do not necessarily operate identically for Blacks and
Whites. In some cases, completely different factors may be operative
as was the case in Dovidio and Gaertner's study. In other cases, it is
possible that different levels of identical factors (interactions)
operate for Blacks and Whites.
Dientsbier (1970) found that the evaluations received by Black
and White stimulus persons on the basis of bogus personal data profiles
were not identical across levels of the social desirability of the pro
files. Blacks with socially desirable characteristics were evaluated
more positively and liked more than Whites with identical socially
desirable characteristics. Blacks with socially undesirable charac
teristics were liked less than Whites with socially undesirable charac
teristics. Evaluations of Black stimulus persons by White subjects
tended to be exaggerated or polarized. Subjects saw positive trait
Blacks as being very good and negative trait Blacks as being very bad,
while White stimulus persons with similar traits received moderate
ratings. This finding may explain in part why it is often assumed that
a Black offender facing an all-White jury is more likely to receive a
harsh sentence than a White offender accused of the same crime. Assuming
that being an accused criminal is a socially undesirable characteristic,
it follows that a Black offender might be viewed more negatively by
White jurors (perhaps because of fear, perceived threat, etc.,) than a
White offender.

10
Linville and Jones (1980) have developed and tested a model that
purports to explain the extreme (polarized) appraisals given to out
group members. The researchers propose that persons rating out-group
(dissimilar) members and in-group (similar) members with identical
credentials will tend to evaluate the out-group member more extremely.
The direction of the evaluation should depend on the positivity or
negativity of the information.
In a series of studies testing their model, Linville and Jones'
predictions were confirmed. A Black law school applicant with strong
credentials was judged more favorably on 16 bipolar adjectives than a
White applicant with identical credentials. When both the Black and
White applicant's credentials were weak, the Black applicant was rated
more negatively than the White applicant. These results were duplicated
when females were used as the out-group.
One explanation proposed by Linville and Jones as to why out-group
evaluations proved more extreme than evaluations of in-group evaluations
is that the subjects (White males) had a more complex schema (greater
familiarity) of in-group applicants and tended to mix their evaluations
of the in-group members' credentials, seeing them as neither all good
nor all bad. Judgements of out-group members, on the other hand, are
made solely on the basis of the information given because the subject
may actually know very little about these group members other than what
is provided by the credentials sheet. Because of this lack of familiarity,
more weight is given to the provided information. This results in eva
luative extremity.
Linville and Jones place their study in the context of affirmative
action programs. Depending on an observer's conceptualization or schema

11
of those benefiting from affirmative action, the observer my be ex
pected to differentially evaluate the adequacy, competency, or qualifi
cations of those individuals for certain situations (e.g., law school
admission). The direction of the evaluation depends on the activation -
of one of two attribution principles. Kelly's (1971) augmentation prin
ciple would predict that observers, in evaluating a strong positive cre
dentials sheet of an out-group member, would construe that group member
as having overcome tremendous obstacles to arrive at his/her level of
achievement. Affirmative action programs would be seen as only of minor,
if any, help to the Individual. The out-group member would be given ex
treme positive ratings in motivation, ability, etc. However, Jones
and Davis' (1965) discounting principle would predict that the role of
some factors in bringing about an event (e.g., admission to law school)
may be discounted if other possible causes are present. Thus, in eva
luating an out-group law school applicant, the observer may either per
ceive internal factors such as motivation and ability as being the basis
of the applicant's admission, or the observer may perceive external
factors such as admission criteria as being the basis for admission.
The salience of affirmative action programs may lead the observer to
discount internal factors and focus instead on the role of affirmative
action in the applicant's admission. The subsequent evaluation of the
out-group applicant should reveal low or less positive perceptions of
the applicant's credentials than those of an in-group member with iden
tical credentials who is not perceived as benefiting from external
factors.
Linville and Jones' research is relevant to the evaluation of
criminal offenders. If evaluators view the offense as being internally

12
motivated, it would follow that they would be more likely to conclude
that the offender has a criminal disposition. Heider (1958) proposed
that a given ouicons depends on a combination of personal force and
environmental force. The greater the degree of personal force observers
perceive on the part of a criminal offender, the more likely observers
are to believe that the behavior that led to the outcome was internally
motivated, and that the behavior tells something about the actor as
opposed to the environment.
It follows from Heider's conceptualization that the greater the
observer's belief that an act was internally motivated, the more the
observers should hold the actor personally responsible for that act,
and the greater should be the observer's belief that the offender should
be punished for his act. The greater the transgression, the greater
should be the desire to punish and the extent of the punishment.
Some research has shown that even though an individual may be
guilty of an offense, there are certain variables that can lead eva
luators to conclude that one offender does not need to be punished as
severely as another offender. Landy and Aronson (1969) found that the
social status of the offender played an important role in subjects'
perceptions of the degree of punishment appropriate for the offender.
High and medium status offenders received less severe sentence recom
mendations than did low status offenders. Austin, Walster and Utne
(1976) found that offenders who were presumed to have suffered in the
course of a harmful act received less severe sentence recommendations
than offenders who were not believed to have suffered.
Kalven and Zeisel (1966) concluded that those who are believed
to regret their crimes are viewed more positively by the jurors and

13
tend to receive less severe sentence recommendations. These results
seem to strongly suggest that jurors make assumptions about the offender's
character on the basis of his/her status, and these assumptions are more
positive-for high status than low status persons.
When taken together, the research results discussed here seem to
indicate that a stimulus person's physical appearance, group membership,
social image, and race are all highly important factors in the attribu
tion and evaluation process. Observers in a variety of situations ranging
from liking studies to criminal sentencing appear to be willing to base
a number of decisions on these person variables. Rewards and punishment
appear to be mediated in many cases by the observer's assessment of
these variables and the meaning observers attach to these variables.
It appears highly appropriate to conclude that when observers have no
information about a stimulus person other than the physical appearance,
unattractive persons and members of stigmtized groups are negatively
evaluated. When personal or background information is given, the eva
luation tends to assume the direction of the informationthat is,
ratings become polarized. Generally, positive information results in
positive evaluations while negative information results in negative eva
luations. Out-group members with positive characteristics are evaluated
more positively than in-group members with identical characteristics,
but more negatively than in-group members when both have negative
characteristics.
Most of the research on the effects of offender variables on ob
servers' evaluations appears to have focused on either in-group vs. out
group evaluations or on in-group members with positive characteristics
vs. in-group members with negative characteristics or some combination

14
of this type. Very little research seems to have addressed the variables
affecting the evaluation of two or more out-groups. This is perhaps
because of the strong effects variables such as race have had in yielding
significant differences between groups. The focus on race may have ob
scured the importance of other variables. In a great deal of research,
there appears to be an implicit assumption that observers only dif
ferentiate between groups and not within groups. A substantial amount
of research has shown, however, that this is not the case. There is
evidence of evaluation differences based on intra-racial variables as
well.
A primary example of possible differences in intra-racial evalua
tions is revealed in the work of a number of researchers who have reported
that Black subjects show a tendency to assign positive characteristics
to lighter Blacks and to assign less positive and even negative traits
and characteristics to darker-skinned Black persons (Anderson and Crom
well, 1976; Brown, 1970; Davenport, 1969; Johnson, 1967: and Marks,
1943'. Skin color therefore appears to be a rather potent person vari
able among Blacks. (It is altogether probable that among other ethnic
groups, the skin color variable as well as other physical attribute
variables operates to differentially affect observers' responses toward
members of those groups.)
Among Black Americans, skin color has been an issue of great ego-
involvement because opportunities and concessions afforded Black Americans
were often based on skin color, with lighter-skinned Blacks in many in
stances being afforded greater opportunities and concessions than darker
Blacks. According to social judgement theory (Sherif and Hovland, 1961),
the degree of importance an issue has with an individual determines the

15
degree of discrimination the individual makes within categories concerning
that issue. Therefore, one might expect Blacks to be more sensitive than
Whites to differences in skin shades among Blacks, and to possibly at
tribute different characteristics to other Blacks on the basis of skin
color. It is interesting to note that to date, there appears to be
little data available on the sensitivity of Whites to skin color varia
tions among Blacks.
In addition to person variables such as skin color which may affect
observers' evaluation of stimulus persons, the evaluation may also be
affected by the nature of the proposed outcomes.
Depending on the situation, outcomes may range from very positive
(such as being accepted into the professional school of one's choice)
to very negative (being sentenced to the electric chair). When evalua
tors are asked to indicate their perceptions of a stimulus person on a
variety of measures and to make some type of decision regarding that
stimulus person, it would appear that the ultimate decision would be in
some way related to the ratings given that person. The more positive
the perception of the stimulus, the more positive should be the ratings
and the ultimate decision. Observers should be motivated to recommend
positive outcomes for persons they perceive positively, and negative or
less positive outcomes for persons they perceive negatively.
In the context of the evaluation and sentencing of a criminal
offender, it appears evident that the evaluator must consider at
least three factors. These are (1) the crime, (2) the individual ac
cused of the crime, and (3) the range of options or sentences avail
able for the crime. If, across offenders, the type of crime and the
range of sentencing options are held constant, it follows that any

16
discrepancy in evaluations and sentencing would be attributable to the
evaluator's perception of the offender. Sentencing can be discrepant
only to the extent that the type of crime allows it to be. Thus, the
type of crime with which the offender is charged must be one that will
allow the use of discretion on the part of the evaluator. The optimal
type of crime to use in this situation is the category of crimes called
"victimless" crimes. These allow use of discretion because depending
on the evaluator's perception of the offender's intent, a very severe
or a very lenient sentence may be imposed. A crime that seems optimal
for these purposes is drug trafficking. This act is criminal as de
fined by most state statutes. However, it is often referred to as a
victimless crime because persons involved in the use of drugs are
assumed to be so because they chose to be. Responsibility for the act
rests with the person who sells the drug, or the person who buys it.
Depending on evaluators' view of the offender, it is conceivable that
the level of recommended punishment may vary from very severe to very
lenient.
The present study proposes to examine the effects of three non-
leg^l offender variables, socio-economic status (SES), academic achieve
ment, and skin color on the evaluations subjects give Black allegad
offenders on a variety of measures research has claimed to be associated
with sentencing outcomes.
In view of the research findings reviewed in this chapter, the
following predictions have been made:
Hypothesis 1. Low SES offenders will be rated more negatively
than higher SES offenders. Subjects will perceive the low SES offender
as more of an example of a "real criminal" than higher SES offenders.

17
Hypothesis 2. The lower evaluations of the low SES offenders will
be positively related to their receiving more severe sentences than
higher SES offenders.
Hypothesis 3. Low achievers will be more negatively evaluated
than hi^i achievers.
Hypothesis 4. The lower evaluation of low achievers will be
positively related to their receiving more severe sentences than high
achievers.
Hypothesis 5. Black subjects will show a tendency to differen
tiate on the basis of color such that less positive characteristics are
assigned to darker Blacks than to lighter Blacks,*
Hypothesis 6. Females will impose harsher sentences than males.
*0ne of the original goals of this study was to conpare the responses of
Black and White subjects to the skin color variable. However, due to the
small number of Black subjects available, this comparison could not be
made, and Hypothesis 5 could not be tested.

CHAPTER 2
THE PROPOSED STUDY
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of the
socio-economic status, academic achievement, and skin color of a Black
male who is an alleged criminal offender on (1) the dispositional and
personality characteristics subjects assigned to the individual and (2)
the severity of the sentence recommended for the individual by subjects.
Desigp of the Study
Two levels of each of the three offender variables fsocio-economic
status, academic achievement, and color) were employed in the present
study. The combination of these variables formed a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial
or eight-condition design. The eight conditions were
(a) High SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 111)
lb) High SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 121)
(c) Low SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 211)
(d) Low SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 221)
(e) High SES, High Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 112)
(f) High SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 122)
(g) Low SES, High Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 212)
(h) Low SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 222).
In addition to the offender variables, the subject variable, sex,
was of primary interest. The major dependent variables were (1) group
scores on the. items comprising the factor derived from the Offender
Disposition Scale, (2) group scores on the items comprising the factor
derived from the Personality Profile, and (3) the sentence recommendation.
18

19
Method
Subjects
Participants were 197 undergraduate students at the University of
Florida. One hundred and ei^ity-seven of these were General Psychology
students who completed the study as part of an experimental participation
requirement. The remaining 10 participants were Black students who com
pleted the study on a voluntary, non-credit basis. Due to the small num
ber of Black subjects available, data for the 10 volunteers and data for
six Black General Psychology students were not submitted to analysis.
Due to missing data, fourteen of the remaining cases were excluded.
Final participants were thus 167 White male and female students enrolled
in General Psychology. This number represents 85 males and 82 females.
Materials
Preparation of the stimulus packets. Black-and-white photographs
of Black males were obtained from an out-of-state college yearbook. Due
to the color variable in the study, selection was restricted to photo
graphs of persons who were clearly dark or clearly light in complexion.
Photographs were rated by three independent judges on a scale of one to
seven on attractiveness, and those photographs with similar mean attrac
tiveness rating? were retained. Four males of dark complexion and four
males of light complexion were retained.
From additional copies of the yearbook, three additional photo
graphs of each stimulus person were obtained. Thus, there were four
photographs of each stimulus person. Each of the stimulus persons
within each color group was paired with each of the four SES X Achieve
ment combinations. The purpose of this arrangement was to minimize the
probability of evaluations being contingent upon the pairing of any

20
one stimulus person with one SES X Achievement combination. Each packet
was distributed an equal number of times across male and females by
each experimenter.
Content of the stimulus packets. Photographs were attached to a
bogus crime report sheet. This sheet provided false personal informa
tion (height, weight, age) about the stimulus person (offender), the
crime with which the individual was charged (cocaine trafficking in
each case), parental occupations, hobbies and pasttime activities, and
college grade-point average. A sample crime report is given in Appendix
B.
Rating materials used in the present study included (1) a 30-item
Offender Disposition Rating scale on which subjects indicated their
beliefs about the offender's disposition. The items were composed on
the basis of research on the variables that purportedly influence
judicial sentencing decisions. As reviewed in the introduction, Hemphill
(1978) lists these variables as (1) type of crime, (2) offender's pre
vious offenses, (3) offender's age, (4) family connections and perceived
ability of the family members to provide guidance for the offender,
(5) whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether
the crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or
part of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that
the offender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be
rehabilitated. Though they argue against the impact of these, Ebbesen
and Konecni (1981) note that such factors as (1) social background, and
(2) personal and psychological characteristics of the offender are often
reputed to be taken into account by judges in their sentencing deci
sions .

21
The content of the Offender Disposition items is based on these
variables, with the exception of the type of crime, offenders previous
record, and offender's age, since these three were held constant in the
present study. The purpose of including these items was to determine
if the offenders' SES, achievement, and color would affect subjects'
perceptions of the offenders with regard to the dispositions reflected
in the items. The Offender Disposition items appear in Appendix C.
Each stimulus packet also contained a 25-item Personality Profile
consisting of 25 adjectives on which subjects rated the offenders. The
items were chosen on the basis of their relationship to the factors pur
ported to influence judicial sentencing. These factors were compared
to subscales of the California Personality Inventory, and adjectives
from the subscales were selected on the basis of the relevance to criminal
evaluation. The subscales "socialization," "poise, ascendancy, and self-
assurance," and "achievement potential" account for the inclusion of
18 items. The remaining ten items were chosen from a list of adjectives,
and these reflect general personality characteristics related to basic
personality or demeanor. The purpose of the Personality Profile items
was to determine if subjects held different perceptions about the of
fenders' personalities on the basis of offenders' SES, achievement,
and color.
Although test-retest reliability for the CPI has been calculated
as being between .57 and 77, these figures are not applicable here since
the CPI was not used in its entirety. The Personality Profile appears
in Appendix D.
Sentencing recommendation. The 15 sentencing levels included on
the Sentence Recommendation sheet were developed to provide subjects

22
with a plausible range of punishment for the crime with which the of
fender was charged. The imprisonment terms and fine recommended by
State Stature were included, and sentences above and below this term were
provided. An asterisk indicated the States mandatory sentence. Sen
tences ranged from life imprisonment without chance of parole to commu
nity service. The Sentence Recommendation form appears in Appendix E.
Post-session questionnaire. A three-item Post-Session Question
naire was included. The purpose of the questionnaire was to determine
(1) the extent to which the subject believed the offender was guilty of
the crime with which he was charged, (2) the extent to which this belief
affected the subject's rating of the offender on the Offender Disposition
Rating and Personality Profile items, and (3) the extent to which this
belief affected the sentence the subject recommended for the offender.
Finally, a personal data sheet was included to determine the sub
ject's sex, race, classification, grade-point average, parental occu
pation and parent's estimated income.
Experimenters. Two White male undergraduates and one White female
undergraduate served as experimenters for the study. The number of cases
submitted to analysis for experimenters 1 (male), 2 (male), and 3 (female)
were 55, 41, and 71, respectively, with an approximately equal number
of male and female subjects represented in each total. Analyses con
ducted to detect effects due to experimenters are reported in the Results
section.
Procedure
Upon arrival at the laboratory, subjects were seated together at
a table. The experimenter explained that the purpose of the study was
to evaluate the necessity of an extensive training program in offender

23
evaluation and sentencing. They were told that the chief concern of the
researcher was whether untrained college students could make evaluations
and sentencing reco miren da tions that were as discerning and as valid as
those made by the extensively trained persons. The complete Experimenter
Script is given in Appendix A.
After responding to questions subjects may have had about the
task, the experimenter handed each subject a sealed packet containing
the crime report (with photograph attached), and the rating scales.
Each subject was seated in a private booth with a curtain.
Following completion of the ratings, the Post-Session Questionnaire
and personal data sheet were administered. Upon completion of these,
subjects were again seated together and debriefed by the experimenter.
Any remaining questions were answered, and subjects were dismissed.

CHAPTER 3
RESULTS
Preliminary Procedures
Due to incidents of missing data and an unequal number of subjects
having been retained across experimenters, the present data were analyzed
using procedures especially equipped to analyze unbalanced designs. The
General Linear Models (GLM) procedures as described in the Statistical
Analysis System (SAS) User's Guide (pp. 237-263, 1979) was employed in
all analysis of variance procedures, and least squares means rather than
arithmetic means were computed for the various groups. The GLM procedure
provides computational methods that estimate missing values so as to
avoid bias due to imbalance.
Prior to analysis, three groups of respondent variables were col
lapsed to facilitate interpretation of results. The four classification
groups (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) were collapsed to
form two groups with freshmen and sophomores comprising group 1 and
juniors and seniors comprising group 2. Income levels were collapsed
as follows: level A = Group 1, B and C = Group 2, D and F = Group 3,
F and G = Group 4, H and I = Group 5, J and K = Group 6, and L = Group 7.
Grade-point average groups were collapsed so as to form four groups with
A = Group 1, B, C, and D = Group 2, E and F = Group 3, and G = Group 4.
Manipulations Check
In order to determine the salience of the socio-economic status
and achievement manipulations, group scores on Offender Disposition
24

25
Report (ODR) item 7 (" . comes from a weak family background.")
and ODR item 20 (" ... is a considerably intelligent person.") were
submitted as dependent measures in an GLM analysis of variance procedure
The model for item 7 was highly significant overall, F (7, 161) =
20.34, p < 0.001. Examination of the sources of variation showed that
socio-economic status was highly significant, F (1, 161) = 126.75, p <
0.001. The mean for low socio-economic status offenders was 2.36 on
this item while the mean for high socio-economic status offenders was
4.27, where a score of one indicated subjects strongly believed the
item was true of the offender and a score of five indicated strong dis
belief. Educational achievement was also significant on this item,
though not as highly significant as SES, F (1, 161) = 8.21, p < .005.
The mean for high achievers was 3.56, while the mean for low achievers
was 3.06. These means indicate that high achievers were less likely to
be rated as being from a weak family background than were low achievers.
The overall model for item 20 was also highly significant, F (1,
161) = 81.69, £ < .001. The mean for high achievers was 1.79 and 3.28
for low achievers, with a score of one indicating that subjects strongly
believed the attribute (intelligent) was true of the offender and a
score of five indicating strong disbelief. Thus, high achievers were
rated as being more intelligent than low achievers. There was also a
significant effect of SES on this item such that high SES offenders
were perceived more positively (more intelligent) than low SES offenders
The mean for high SES offenders was 2.36 and 2.71 for low SES offenders.
The results of the manipulation check indicate that subjects were
aware of the family background and achievement information given for
each offender. The results also seem to indicate that subjects not only

26
made an assumption about the offender's background on the basis of the
parental occupation information, but also about the offender's intellect
on the basis of parental occupation. Ihus, high SES offenders' mean
score on this item was significantly more positive than the mean score
for low SES offenders. In addition, offenders who were low in SES but
high in achievement received a more positive score on this item than
did their low achieving low SES counterparts.
Similarly, subjects appeared to make assumptions about the of
fender's intellect on the basis of the SES information. While offenders
from the high achievement group received significantly higher scores
on the intelligence item than did low achievers, those low achievers
who were of the high SES received a significantly higher score on this
item than did low achievers who were low SES.
It seems reasonable to assume that these results indicate that
subjects perceived a link between family status and academic ability.
In addition to the manipulation check items that were taken from
the 30 ODR items, six filler items (10, 11, 15, 16, 21, and 24) were
not related to criminal character per se, and were excluded so as to
prevent their interference with the formation of factors related to
criminal propensities of the offender. The exclusion of these items
and the manipulation check items left a remaining 22 ODR items for
factor analysis.
Major Analyses
The remaining 22 ODR items and the 25 Personality items were sub
mitted to factor analyses using the Varimax method of rotation. Initially,
seven factors emerged for both the ODR and the Personality items; however,
for each set of items, the amount of explained variance diminished

27
substantially after the first factor. Therefore, only one ODR factor
and one Personality factor merited inclusion in further analyses.
Items with a leading of 0.50 or above were retained for the ODR
factor and the Personality factor. In each case, items of 0.50 loading
or above that were negative attributes were reverse scored and summed
with the positively worded items. This sum, divided by the number of
items, was used to compute group means on the factor.
The factor retained from the ODR items, labeled Criminality due
to the high loading of items related to the offender's criminal motives,
accounted for 22 percent of the variance. Table 1 gives the four items
comprising this factor and their factor loadings.
The retained Personality factor was labeled Virtues due to the
high loading of items reflecting virtuous personal qualities of the of
fender. This factor accounted for 21 percent of the variance. Items
selected to comprise this factor and their loadings are given in Table 2.
In order to test for experimenter bias, experimenter conditions,
and condition effects, a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was
conducted using the factors Criminality, Virtues, and sentence recom
mendation as the dependent measures. This analysis revealed overall
non-significance of the experimenter, F (6, 280) -0.73, p > .05, as well
as non-significance of experimenter X condition effects, F (42, 419) =
1.06, p > .05. The overall model for conditions was highly significant,
F (21, 419) = 2.89, p < .001, thus revealing that the various conditions
were successful in eliciting differential ratings from subjects. The
results of the MANOVA for these effects are summarized in Table 3.
In order to determine the effects of specific independent vari
ables on the dependent measures, Criminality, Virtues, and sentence

28
Thble 1
Items Comprising Criminality Factor
Item Loading
. . may also be involved in substance abuse 0.67
. . committed the charged act under his own accord 0.74
. . will likely become involved in some other type of
illegal activity at some point 0.59
. . committed the charged act under force or
coercion from others. -0.66
Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the
first factor.

29
Table 2
Items Comprising Virtues Factor
Item
Loading
Affectionate
0.56
Loyal
0.68
Unpredictable
-0.55
Forceful
-0.57
Truthful
0.73
Reliable
0.76
Sincere
0.82
Likable
0.77
Ambitious
0.70
Tender
0.67
Happy
0.57
Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the
first factor.

30
Table 3
Results of MANOVA Test for Experimenter, Condition, and Experimenter X
Condition Effects on Criminality, Personal Virtue, and Sentence Recommendation.
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Experimenter
( 6, 280)
0.78
0.5838
Condition
21, 419
2.89
0.0001*
Experimenter X
Condition
(42, 419)
1.06
0.3876
*p < .05.
Note: Calculations are based on the Hotteling-Lawley test of significance.

31
recommendation were used as dependent measures in a MANOVA to determine
whether the respondent variables (subjects' sex, classification, grade-
point average, and income level) were significant with regard to of
fender evaluation. All respondent variables were shown to be non
significant in the MANOVA as well as in the univariate models. Because
subjects' sex was non-significant as an independent variable, Hypothesis
6that females would sentence more severely than maleswas not sup
ported.
In order to test the remaining five hypotheses, a MANOVA was per
formed on the offender variables (SES, achievement, and color). The
MANOVA revealed overall non-significance of the SES variable, F (3,
'157) = 0.12, p > .05. This finding indicates non-confirmation of both
Hypothesis 1 (which predicted that low SES persons would receive more
negative evaluations than higher SES offenders! and Hypothesis 2 (that
low SES offenders would receive harsher sentences). Achievement, how
ever, was highly significant overall, F (3, 157) = 16.49, p < 0.001,
indicating that Hypothesis 3 and Hypothesis 4 could be tested for uni
variate effects. There was no significant main effect due to color,
F (3, 157) 1.16, p > .05. However, there was a significant inter
action between color and achievement, F (3, 157) = 3.25, p < .05.
These results are summarized in Table 4. As previously noted, Hypo
thesis 5 could not be tested due to the small number of Black subjects
available.
The effects shown to be significant in the MANOVA were further
examined through an analysis of variance (ANOVA) for unbalanced designs.
The ANOVA revealed that the model for the Criminality factor was highly

32
Table 4
Results of MANOVA Tests for Significance of Offender Variables
on Criminality Factor, Virtues Factor, and Sentence Recomtnendation
Source
DF
F
Pr> F
SES
(3,
157)
0.12
0.94
Achievement*
(3,
157)
1.49
0.0001*
Color
(3,
157)
1.16
0.32
SES X Achievement
(3,
157)
0.86
0.46
SES X Color
(3,
157)
1.64
0.18
Achievement X Color*
(3,
157)
3.25
0.02*
SES X Achievement X Color
(3,
157)
0.10
0.99
*p < .05
Note: Due to missing values, total N for this analysis 160.

33
significant, F (7, 159) = 2.97, p < .01. Further examination of the
sources of variation showed that achievement was highly significant on
the Criminality factor, F (1, 159) = 12.40, p < .001. An examination
of the means for achievement groups on Criminality showed that Hypo
thesis 3 was confirmed. The mean Criminality rating for low achieving
offenders was significantly higher (more negative) than the mean rating
for high achieving offenders (4.08 vs. 3.70, respectively). This sig
nificant difference indicates that subjects used the achievement of
the offender as an index of the offender's criminal motivations (in
ternal vs. external) and his propensity for further criminal involve
ment. These results are summarized in Tables 5 and 6.
The univariate procedure also revealed overall significance for the
model containing the Virtues variable, F (7, 159) = 7.72, p < .001. As
predicted, low achievers received less positive ratings on this factor
than did high achieving offenders. Low achievers received a mean
rating of 3.27 while high achievers received a mean rating of 4.17,
where a score of one would indicate that subjects did not believe the
offender possessed the virtuous quality and a score of seven would in
dicate subjects believed the offender displayed the characteristic most
or all of the time. The presence of a significant Achievement X Color
interaction does not contradict the above finding; however, it requires
interpretation. The interaction effect was such that high achievers
were always rated more positively than low achievers on the Virtues vari
able; however, light complexioned (LC) offenders who were high achievers
were rated significantly higher on Virtues than dark complexioned (DC)
high achievers (LC = 4.38, DC = 3.97). However, light complexioned

34
Thble 5
Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Criminality Factor
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model*
(7,
159)
2.97
0.0061*
SES
(1,
159)
0.05
0.82
Achievement*
(1,
159)
12.40
0.0006*
Color
(1,
159)
0.22
0.6419
SES X Achievement
M,
159)
1.87
0.1739
SES X Color**
(1,
159)
3.66
0.0510*
Achievement X Color
(1,
159)
1.95
0.1640
SES X Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.00
0.9895
*Significant at or above the .05 level.
**Significant on the Criminality variable,
but insignificant in the MAN0VA

35
Table 6
Group Means for Achievement
on Criminality Factor
Achievement
Level
Mean
Criminality
Rating
Std. Deviation
High
3.70
.71
n = 83
Low
4.08
.67
3
M
00
Note: Means are significantly different at a = .05; 1 = low in criminal
characteristics, 5 = high in criminal characteristics.

36
Table 7
Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Virtues Factor
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model*
(7,
159)
7.72
0.0001*
SES
(1,
159)
0.34
0.56
Achievement*
(1,
159)
44.98
0.0001*
Color
(1,
159)
0.94
0.33
SES X Achievement
(1,
159)
0.30
0.58
SES X Color
(1,
159)
0.96
0.32
Achievement X Color*
(1,
159)
4.38
0.03*
SES X Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.12
0.73
*p < .05.

37
offenders who were low achievers were rated lower than dark complexioned
low achievers on Virtues, though not significantly so (LC mean = 3.20,
DC mean = 3.35). This effect is similar to Linville and Jones' (1980)
polarization effect and is shown graphically in Figure 1.
The sentence recommendation model was shown to be marginally sig
nificant, F (7, 159) = 1-79, (Pr > F = .09). This significance allows
an interpretation of a highly significant achievement effect, F (1, 159)
= 8.78, p < .01. As predicted, those offenders who were high achievers
were sentenced less harshly than low achievers. The mean sentence
recommendation for high achievers was 8.03 and 6.66 for low achievers,
where a score of one indicates the harshest sentence and a score of 15
indicates the least severe. Sentencing level eight represents a penalty
of a fine with no imprisonment, while penalty six represents a penalty
of three years imprisonment and a fine, and level seven represents two
years imprisonment with optional fine. Thus, while imprisonment was
recommended for low achievers on the average, this was not true for high
achievers. These results are summarized in Table 8.
The Post-Session Questionnaire (PSQ) items were submitted as
dependent measures in an ANOVA to determine if the offender variables
influenced subjects perceptions of the probability of guilt of the
offenders, and if this affected the subjects' evaluations of the of
fenders and subjects' sentencing of the offenders. Respondent variables
were also tested for possible effects on responses to the PSQ items.
The MANOVA conducted for the PSQ items revealed non-significance
of all offender variables and respondent variables. This indicated
that neither the offender variables nor the respondent variables sig-
nfiicantly affected subjects' responses to the PSQ items.

38
Mean
Virtue
Rating
Complexion
Figure 1. Achievement X Color Interaction on Virtue Rating.

39
In summary, the foregoing results indicate that offenders' achieve
ment level had a significant effect on whether subjects perceived the
offender to have internal criminal motivations, with high achievers being
less likely to be perceived as having internal motivations than low
achievers. High achievers were also likely to be perceived as having
more virtuous qualities, but this effect was affected by the offenders'
color. Ligjit complexioned high achievers were perceived as signifi
cantly more virtuous than dark complexioned high achievers, but light
complexioned low achievers were perceived as slightly less virtuous
than dark complexioned low achievers. Finally, though subjects did not
associate different probabilities of guilt with offenders on the basis
of achievement, they did recommend significantly less severe sentences
for high achievers than for low achievers.

40
Table 8
Results of Analysis of Variance for Effects
of Offender Variables on Sentence Recommendation
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model
(7,
159)
1.67
0.12
SES
d,
159)
0.00
0.98
Achievement*
(1,
159)
7.41
0.007*
Color
(1,
159)
1.34
0.24
SES X Achievement
(1,
159)
0.00
0.95
SES X Color
(1,
159)
1.46
0.22
Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.69
0.40
SES X Achievement X Color
n,
159)
0.24
0.62
*p < .05.

CHAPTER A
DISCUSSION
To briefly review, it was predicted that (1) low SES offenders
would be rated more negatively than higher SES offenders on dispositional
and personality items, (2) the lower evaluations of the low SES offenders
would be positively related to their receiving more severe sentence recom
mendations, (3) low achievers would be evaluated more negatively on dis
position and personality than high achievers, (4) the low evaluations of
low achievers would be positively related to their receiving more severe
sentence recommendations than high achievers, (5) Black subjects would
show a tendency to differentiate on the basis of color more than White
subjects, and (6) females would impose harsher sentences than males.
Results showed that the SES of the offender did not play a sig
nificant role in e-valuations or sentencing: thus, Hypotheses 1 and 2
were not confirmed. The offender's achievement level had a highly sig
nificant effect on the evaluation of the offender and a highly signifi
cant effect on sentencing, although the overall model for .sentence
recommendation was only marginally significant. Thus, Hypothesis 3 was
confirmed while it only can be said that Hypothesis 4 was moderately
supported. The fifth hypothesisthat Black subjects would differentiate
more than White subjects on the basis of offenders' colorcould not be
tested due to the insufficient number of Black subjects available for the
study. Severity of sentence recommendation was not significantly affected
by sex of the subject; thus, Hypothesis 6 was not confirmed.
41

In summary, the academic achievement index of the alleged offenders
appears to have held the central role in determining the respondents'
perceptions of the offenders' criminal motivations and personal virtues.
High achieving offenders were perceived as having less motivation for
criminal activity than low achievers, and high achievers were also per
ceived as having greater personal virtues than low achievers. The
higher ratings on personal virtues and the lower ratings on criminal
motivations were positively related to high achieving offenders' lower
mean sentence recommendation.
One possible explanation for the prevalence of the achievement
variable over the other offender variables is that subjects perhaps
viewed the offender's achievement level as a trait around which all other
offender characteristics could be interpreted. Along these lines, Asch
(1946) found that substituting the word "warm" or "cold" in a group of
descriptive adjectives led to significantly different evaluations of the
stimulus persons these adjectives supposedly described. Asch's subjects
appeared to have clear expectations as to which characteristics fit well
with "warm" and "cold" personalities. Similarly, participants in the
present study seemed to have expectations as to the characteristics that
fit well with high achievement and low achievement. They also seemed to
make some assumptions as to the extent of punishment appropriate for high
achievers and low achievers.
Some of these findings may also be explained by the implicit theory
of personality, which holds that observers often make assumptions about
the type of traits that belong together. Thus, given that an individual
possesses or displays one trait or characteristic, we tend to make assump
tions about other traits or characteristics that individual possesses.

43
Rosenberg and Sedlack (1972) found that an individual who is perceived as
intelligent is also likely to be perceived as friendly. Some of the stu
dies in interpersonal attraction discussed in Chapter 1 suggest that
observers often believe that a person who is physically beautiful is also
abundant in other positive traits (Dion, Berschied, and Dials ter, 1974).
As discussed in Chapter 1, Butt and Signori (1976) found that ob
servers hold certain beliefs and attitudes about others' abilities, sin
cerity, sense of security, etc., on the basis of the ethnic group or
social group to which those others belong. Group membership was viewed
as providing a source of information beyond mere classification or cate
gorization. The respondents in the Butt and Signori study apparently
believed group membership was an index of attitude, behavior, and ability.
Similar to the findings from Rosenberg and Sedlack's (19"72) study,
it appears that the implicit theory of personality mediated subjects'
evaluations of the offenders. The ratings subjects gpve offenders on the
Virtues factor seem to indicate that offenders who were high achievers
were also perceived as reliable, sincere, likable, ambitious, and happy.
Subjects did not believe these characteristics were descriptive of low
achievers. These assumptions apparently influenced subjects in their
evaluations of offenders.
It seems reasonable to believe that, depending on the situation,
some characteristics or traits may be more heavily weighted than others.
For example, it is understandable that physical appearance would play a
very dominant role in a study of dating choices; however, even though
it has been demonstrated that physical attractiveness is a very potent
variable in interpersonal relationships, the role of physical attractive
ness might be diminished if it were competing against competence in a

44
study of partner choices in a problem-solving situation. Thus, as the
situation shifts, and as the type of decision that must be made changes,
the importance of certain person variables may also shift. For example,
Shaw and Gilchrist (1955) found that as task failure became a major con
cern to task participants, partner abilities became more important than
group maintenance.
It appears that the importance of a particular variable in the
attribution process may be a function of (1) the situation and the de
cisions observers are required to make, (2) the quality and quantity of
information observers have about the stimulus persons, (3) qualities of
the stimulus person, and (4) qualities of the decision maker. In the
present study, the offenders were depicted as members of a particular
racial group (Black), and within this racial classification skin color
was either very dark or very light. Each alleged offender was presented
as belonging to either a relatively high or low socio-economic status,
and each was depicted as either a high, achiever academically or a low
achiever. Respondents were therefore presented with three types of in
formation about the offender whose case they examined, and the respon
dents could have used any one variable, any combination of variables, or
none of these variables, as a decision-making or evaluation aid in rating
the offenders on the dependent measures.
Assuming that perceived character was the basis of subjects' eva
luations and sentencing of the offenders, the non-significance of SES
in the present study indicates that subjects may have perceived SES to
be less of an index of the stimulus person's character than his achieve
ment. The presence of an achievement effect and absence of an effect
due to SES is by no means indicative of any greater importance of achieve
ment over socio-economic status in the attribution process as a whole.

45
It may simply indicate that the respondents in the present study viewed
the offenders achievements as a more substantial variable for making
the type of evaluations they were required to make. It Is possible that
if a different type of decision had been required or if the crime in
volved had been different (e.g., a crime involving physical injury to
another), SES might have proved to be more significant than achievement.
The prepotency of achievement over SES may be attributable to the
effects of ascribed vs. achieved status. Linton (1936) distinguished
between the two on the basis of expenditure of efforts in attaining
each type. Socio-economic status, as used in the present study, is an
ascribed characteristicthat is, it was not earned by the stimulus per
sons, but inherited from parents. Academic achievement, on the other
hand, was a purely achieved characteristic in that the stimulus persons'
own personal efforts led to their attaining their achievement scores
(grade-point averages).
Given the type of decision subjects had to make, it seems logical
that ascribed characteristics would be taken as less of a foundation for
generalizing about the offenders' overall character than offenders' achieve
ments. In the case of criminal eraluations, one of the variables with
which evaluators should be most concerned is the extent to which the of
fender appears to be able to steer away from criminal activities. The
assumption that one can meet this challenge may hinge predominantly on
one's record of abilities and achievement. These indices of past beha
vior my be used by evaluators as predictors of future behavior. High
academic achievement, it appears, is perceived as more of an index of one's
future behaviors than is one's SES. While it nay be argued that one's
SES plays a role in one's achievements, it may also be argued that SES
does not predestine one's achievements, nor does it determine behavior.

46
Ascribed characteristics, such as SES, may not be perceived as in
dicative of one's true character as other variables. The individual's
own behavior has not been implicated in his possession of ascribed status.
While one may assume that diligence and adherence to a strong work ethic
.spins one admittance to a higher social and economic class, in the present
study it is the offenders' parents and not the offender himself who would
have demonstrated this diligence. The opposite is true for the offender's
achievements. Any spins made in this area would have to be indicative of
personal diligence and hard work on the part of the offender. Consequently,
the conclusion may have been drawn that this diligence carried over into
other aspects of the offender's life. It follows that given achievement
information and SES information, observers would believe achievement to
be more relevant to the situation in the present study and to the decision
they had to make.
The Criminality factor that emerged in the present study was com
prised of items related to whether the defendant committed the act on
his own accord, committed the act by force from others, whether he was
involved in drug abuse, and whether he was likely to become involved in
some other type of illegal activity at some point. Regardless of socio
economic status, high achievers were perceived as less likely to have
committed the act on their own accord (and therefore more likely to have
acted under coercion), less likely to be involved in drug abuse, and
less likely to become involved in further criminal activity than low
achievers. In view of the fact that recidivism (commission of the same
crime again) is theoretically a major concern in sentencing, it is
higfrly reasonable that offenders who were perceived as being less per
sonally motivated toward crime and less involved in drug use which might

47
be related to commission of further criminal acts would be perceived
more positively.
It follows from the more positive evaluations given to higji achievers
that less severe sentences would be recommended for this group. The
present study shows support for this line of reasoning. The mean sentence
recommendation for high achievers was lower (less severe) than that for
low achievers. Sentences for both groups were lower than the sentences
indicated as the states maximum sentence, which may indicate that, on
the average, subjects felt this sentence was too harshor at least too
harsh for the offenders being considered. It should be noted, however,
that life imprisonment with a chance of parole (the second most severe
sentence described) was recommended at least once, indicating that not
all subjects viewed the state's sentence (15 years imprisonment and a
$200,000 fine) as too harsh, unless, of course, some respondents valued
money over freedom.
It is interesting to note that despite the differences in sentence
recommendations for high and low achievers, responses to the post
session questionnaire indicate that subjects did not perceive high
achievers to be any less guilty of the criminal act than low achievers.
Thus, it appears that even though high achievers were viewed as probably
guilty, subjects did not perceive high achievers to need as much punish
ment as low achievers needed. Since sentencing was a discretionary
matter, with each subject being allowed to recommend any of the 15 sen
tences he/she desired, it appears that high achievers were the bene
ficiaries of this discretion. If this outcome is relevant to the sen
tencing of offenders in real criminal cases, it may help -explain why
there is often discrepancy in real jury and judicial sentencing. The

48
impressions juries and judges have of the offender apparently influence
their ultimate sentence recommendations. This interpretation is sup
ported by Kalven and Zeisel (1966), who found that judges reported that
11 percent of the eases in which judges and jurors disagreed in their

evaluations of the offender was due to the jurors' having formed an overly
positive impression of the offender based on extra-legal variables. Thus,
when the offender has positive characteristics and dieretion allows,
guilt may become a discounted variable.
In view of the research that has suggested that the actual or per
ceived SES of the offender influences sentencing (Chambliss and Seidman,
1971; Hagan, 1973; Thornberry, 1973; Foley and Chamblin, 1980), it is
possible that the type of crime used in the present study accounted for
the absence of an SES effect. Most studies showing an effect of the
offender's SES have focused on crimes in which another individual was
physically harmed (e.g., homicide, rape, etc.), or on other types of
crimes in which there was a specific victim. This is true of both
laboratory experiments and field studies. It may be that in crimes in
which people are injured, the SES of the offender is perceived as being
more relevant than other variables and perhaps more relevant than achieve
ment, since it is possible that SES may be perceived to be more of an
index of personal aggressiveness (Chambliss and Seidman, 1971)- In
many cases, low SES offenders may be believed to be more aggressive and .
more likely to pose a general threat to society than high SES offenders.
The interaction between color and achievement in the present study
nay be related to Linville and Jones' (1980) polarization hypothesis.
According to these researchers, observers tend to polarize their ratings
of out-group members on the basis of the positivity or negativity of the

49
information given about the stimulus person. Positive information yields
a positive polarization while negative information yields a negative
polarization. Identical information provided about in-group members
(persons with whom observers can identify on some basis such as race,
sex, etc.) will yield moderate rather than extreme ratings.
If this hypothesis is applied here, it would seem to suggest that
the subjects had less of a schema for evaluating lighter complexioned
Blacks than they had for evaluating darker complexioned Blacks. The
relatively extreme scores assigned to the lighter stimulus persons as
compared to darker stimulus persons suggest that subjects viewed the
lighter Blacks as somewhat of an anomaly. If this is in fact the case,
it may be that the lighter complexioned Blacks in the photographs de
viated from subjects' conceptualization of Blacks. If subjects had no
schema for evaluating these individuals, they would be expected to rely
very heavily on the nature of the information given them about the of
fender. In this case, subjects relied on the achievement information,
giving high positive ratings to high achievers and low negative ratings
to low achievers.
One implication of the interaction between color and achievement
in the present study is that the perpetual focus on race as a variable
in socio-behavioral research may have served to obscure the significance
of other variables that may be equally active in the process of person
evaluation and social interaction.
Perhaps the major implication of the findings discussed here is
something that has been well-known in the social and behavioral sciences
for a very long time. Extra-situational person variables can and do
affect our perceptions and evaluations of others in a variety of situations.

50
Beyond affecting our perceptions and evaluations, person variables can
affect our behavior toward others such that we are willing to disperse
awards and punishment on the basis of these variables. The fact that
two people who are the same in every respect except for grade-point
average could be evaluated so differently in terms of character, and
subsequently sentenced to different levels of punishment for a crime of
which they are both perceived to be guilty speaks of the strength of
the implicit assumptions we make about others. In addition, this fact
speaks of the faith we place in these assumptions.
Of course, it is perhaps not without reason that the subjects in
the present study demonstrated more of a willingness to be more lenient
with high achievers than with low achievers. It seems logical that a
person who achieves might in fact possess many virtuous qualities. Per
haps the correlation between achievement and personality had been more
real than illusory in the subjects experiences, leading them to expect
less likelihood of future criminal behaviors on the part of the high
achieving offender.
The further assumption that this high achieving individual is a
reliable and sincere person may also be a reasonable assumption.
Schlenker (1980) notes that persons with high status tend to be given
prerogatives not afforded to those of lower status. One's achievements
are, of course, a type of status, and in this vein, it is highly possible
that high achievers were therefore afforded benefits that low achievers
were not afforded. High achievers were afforded the assumption of a
non-criminal character and a positive, virtuous personality as though
they were being given credit for their academic prowess. Beyond these
concessions, high achievers were afforded the prerogative to endure

51
less severe punishment than their low achieving counterparts, even
though the crime was one evaluators believed they (high achievers) had
actually committed. While character or perceived character of a de
fendant can be expected to play a role in jurors' and judges' evalua
tions of persons who are accused of crimes, it seems that once one is
actually classified as an offender, the role of prerogatives would
diminish, and the quest would become one of distributing justice. If
justice is in fact blind, one's achievements should not affect one's
punishment once guilt is established.
There are enough examples outside the laboratory to tell us that
prerogatives are given on the basis of status or perceived status.
High status persons convicted of crimes are rarely sentenced to state
prisons. Attorneys have long known that a client who presents a posi
tive image to jurors has a better chance of being found not guilty, or,
if found guilty, being sentenced less severely than a client who presents
a negative image. Perhaps one of the reasons such care is taken in
choosing a jury is that attorneys know it is important to determine what
kind of characteristics the jurors will perceive as most positive or
most negative. It is perhaps better and easier at times to have a jury
tha:t conforms to the defendant than to have to make the defendant con
form to the jury. Depending on the type of characteristics the members
of the jury value, it may be impossible for some defendants to conform
to meet those values. For example, it is difficult to change one's
ethnic group, sex, etc.
The fact that variables other than those related to the crime can
influence jury dispositions may be dissettling to some, common knowledge
to others, and confirmation of a suspicion to still others. It is

52
important to note that this effect is present in most situations, some
times perhaps without the knowledge of those making decisions. If this
is the case, it may be that the only possible means of minimizing the
effects of irrelevant information in cases where such information may
prove detrimental is to make people cognizant of tine fact that they are
susceptible to using these extraneous variables, and to give explicit
caveats regarding the possible effects of such variables. Such warnings
are important since it is clear that when people have the discretion to
do so, they will sometimes make decisions on the basis of variables
that seem to have little to do with the situation at hand.
Even with an explicit caveat, extra-situational variables may
remain active. The saving grace here is the fact that generalizations
and assumptions about individuals on the basis of a few known facts
may sometimes work to the advantage of deserving individuals.

APPENDIX A
EXPERIMENTER SCRIPT
You are probably aware that a great amount of money is spent each
year in programs designed to train people as court counselors or court
liasons. These court counselors advise the judges in nonjury trials
as to what should be the sentence for certain types of offenders, since
it is impossible for the judge to devote time to scrutinizing each case
which comes before him or her.
One offender of particular concern is the offender whose crime is
drug-related. Many agencies hire and train people to focus specifically
on the felony drug offenses. The training program for court counselors
is an extensive and also a very expensive process. Each potential coun
selor must be interviewed, and if selected he or she must undergo an
intensive program in psychology, sociology, and law. In addition, the
individual must attend a series of seminars and lectures on the uses
and abuses of drugs.
The use of court counselors is becoming very popular. You may
be aware that a number of college campuses have counselors appointed
to work specifically with students who have been involved in drug-
related offenses.
We are concerned as to whether the expensive training programs as
they currently exist are really necessary. We are investigating whether
untrained persons, given information similar to that which a court
counselor would gather from the client, can make decisions that are
53

54
just as discerning and legally justifiable as the extensively trained
individuals.
The court counseling process proceeds like this. After the
offender is brought in and charges are made, the court counselor is
called. The counselor goes down to the police station to see the client.
A brief (usually about 10 minutes or less) session is held between the
counselor and the offender. In this period, the counselor makes an
attempt to learn something about the offenderhis or her occupation,
family situation, previous offenses, and other background or personal
information. In this way, the counselor hopes to get as accurate a
picture as possible of the offender and to thus be able to make a
fair and just sentencing recommendationone that will do society
justice as well as the offender.
We have compiled a number of cases involving offenses in which a
court counselor would be called upon to advise the court. We have been
able to obtain these cases through out-of-state programs that work a
great deal with offenders in college. We want to simulate the actual
court counseling situation using you as counselors. For each case, we
have provided information identical to that which a court counselor
would attempt to get in a face-to-face offender interview session. We
have written up each case on a case report form (CRF). The specific
offense in each case is given in the first few lines of the case report
form. Now, in the actual counseling situation, you would of course meet
the individual face-to-face. Since this is obviously not possible for
us at this point, permission has been obtained to provide a photograph
of most of the offenders, and in such cases, we have attached the photo
graph to each case report form. We know that photographs do not take

55
the place of a face-to-face interview, but we do feel they are helpful
in helping us to simulate actual counseling situations.
In a moment, I will give each of you one case. I would like for
you to very careflilly examine the case. As a court counselor would do,
you are to use the given information to form an overall impression of
the individual. We would like for you to use the scale labeled Per
sonality Profile (hold form up for subjects' viewing) to record your
impression of the individual. This scale features 25 adjectives similar
to those a court counselor would use in his/her write-up of the indivi
dual. To save time, we are asking that you simply use the appropriate
number from the scale at the top of the page to indicate the extent to
which you believe the adjective given describes the individual. For
example, if you believe that this description is occasionally true of
the individual, you would place the number four in the space next to
the word "cooperative."
Since it is important to form some kind of impression as to the
offender's behavioral and attitudinal tendencies, a disposition scale
is provided for each person. On this scale, you should check the extent
to which you agree or disagree as to whether the stated disposition
reflects the offender's disposition. As you can probably gjess, this
type of information is extremely important to the judge since the of
fender's disposition often tells a great deal about the type of sen
tencing needed. Therefore, be as conscientious as possible in forming
and recording your impressions.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you are asked to make one
of a number of commonly used sentencing recommendations for the indi
vidual, keeping in mind the nature and seriousness of the offense and

56
the qualities of the individual provided in the personal data sheet and
your personal impressions. On the sentencing sheets, you will notice
that a number of different sentences are provided. Somewhere between
the top and'bottom sentences, you will see two asterisks. These asterisks
represent the sentence that is currently mandated by the Florida statutes.
Although this is the sentence that the laws recommend, other sentences
have been provided since you may feel that this sentence is either too
light or too lenient for the crime and the offender involved. Therefore,
heavier and lighter sentences are provided. If you feel a lighter sen
tence is more appropriate, you are free to recommend that sentence. If
you feel a more severe sentence is appropriate, you should recommend
that sentence. It is not at all uncommon for a court counselor to
recommend either a tougher or more lenient sentence depending on the
counselor's impressions of the offender.
Agpin, we realize that the information you will have on each of
fender may seem very limited. We ask that you keep in mind that the
information we have provided you is information identical to that a
court counselor might get in interviewing the person. The only thing
the counselor has that you do not is an actual offender sitting there
in front of him or her. It is important that you attempt to form an
impression based on the information you have. We want to see if your
judgements are just as valid as or similar to the counselor's judgements.
Do you have any questions? (Experimenter answers questions to the
best of ability. Unanswerable questions should be simply classified
as such, or the subjects may be asked to refer their questions to the
researcher (give researcher's telephone number).

57
Okay, I will now distribute the packets. Remember to address any
and all questions to me if any should arise while you are completing
the sheets. "The experimenter directs each subject to a booth. Once
subjects are seated, experimenter distributes one packet to each person.
Each packet contains the crime report sheet with photograph attached,
the Offender Disposition Rating, the Personality Profile, and the Sen
tence Recommendation form. Please work as quietly as you can. If
you should happen to have any questions at all, please let me know and
we can step outside. Any questions? fPause for questions.) Okay, you
may begin.
'The experimenter should sit in an available but unobtrusive place.
As subjects complete the evaluations, the experimenter should watch to
make sure subjects place the scales and the profiles back into the
envelopes. When all subjects have completed the evaluations given him/
her, the experimenter should collect the packets.)
Okay, now I have one other set of questions I need you to answer
about the offender. Let me know when you are finished with this and I
have one other thing for you. 'Experimenter gives subjects the post
session questionnaire. After subjects complete this sheet, experimenter
distributes the Personal Data Sheet. Following the completion of this
sheet, experimenter will call subjects back together for debriefing.)

APPENDIX B
CRIME REPORT FORM

Case ID#
High Socio-Economic Status
High Achievement
Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Last First Middle
DOB XXXXX Age 25_ Race _J3
Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent to
whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Information
given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of the above
suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and seized 908
grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street value.
Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, isomeriza
tion devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged with
(1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law), (2)
attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest, and
(4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate)
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)
59

60
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Fathers Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades A, 5, 6)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing,
horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess
School Attending (code)XXXXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0
Current Status Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer

61
Case ID#
Higji Socio-Economic Status
Low Achievement
Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Last First Middle
DOB XXXXX Age 25 Hace B
Sex: M F Height 5'10" Weight 185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, Iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate)
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)

62
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades 4, 5, 6)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing,
horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code)XXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4.0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding major
area of study and grade-point.

63
Case ID#
Low Socio-Economic Status
High Achievement
Name XXXXX
XXXXX
XXXXX
Last
First
Middle
DOB
XXXXX
Age 25
Race
B
Sex:
M F
Height 510"
Weight
185
Description of Offense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the above suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate).
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)

64
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Short-Order Cook
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Maid (private home)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying playing cards,
basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXXXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer

65
Case ID#
Low Socio-Economic Status
Low Achievement
Name
XXXXX
XXXXX
XXXXX
Last
. First
Middle
DOB
XXXXX
Age 25
Race
B
Sex:
M F
Height 5'10"
Weight
185
Description of 0ffense/Charges/Counts: Above suspect was arrested fol
lowing the arrest and questioning of a 43-year-old real estate agent
to whom suspect allegedly sold a quantity of 12 grams cocaine. Infor
mation given by the first arrestee led to a warrant for the search of
the bavoe suspect's residence. Investigating officers discovered and
seized 908 grams (approx. 2 pounds) cocaine, estimated at $100,000 street
value. Also seized were assorted paraphernalia (measuring devices, iso
merization devices, and purity testing equipment). Suspect is charged
with (1) cocaine trafficking (a first degree felony under Florida law),
(2) attempting to elude law enforcement officers, (3) resisting arrest,
and (4) one count personal possession of cocaine.
(Use reverse for additional information.)
Previous Offenses (use code): Vehicle code violation (expired license
plate).
(Attach Form 5-PO where applicable.)

66
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Fathers Occupation Short-Order Cook
" * r1" ~
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Maid (private home)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying playing cards,
basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXX State (code)XXXXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 1.45 Scale 4,0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer

APPENDIX C
OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING FORM

OFFENDER DISPOSITION RATING
Case ID#
Instructions: Circle the number that indicates the extent to which you
believe each disposition stated below reflects the offender's disposition.
Use the key below in responding.
Key:
1 = Strongly Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
2 = Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
3 = Neither believe nor disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender.
4 = Do Not Believe this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
5 = Strongly Disbelieve this disposition reflects the offender's disposition.
Based on my impression gathered through the information provided on this
case, the individual in Case ID# :
1
realizes the seriousness of his/her offense.
2. has a violent temper.
3. will probably commit this offense again if not
adequately punished.
4. regrets having committed this offense.
5. has other unreported offenses.
6. may also be involved in substance (drug) abuse.
7. comes from a weak family background.
8. does not take his/her offense seriously.
9. would benefit from punishment.
10. is a productive person.
11. is a concerned and conscientious person.
12. committed the chared act under his/her own accord.
13. would benefit from a drug rehabilitation program.
14. would suffer unduly if imprisoned.
15. is a basically cooperative person.
16. is an untrustworty person.
1?. has solid abilities to judgje right and wrong.
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
68

69
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
Case ID#
has family members who can help him/her avoid further 1 2 3
involvement in illegal activities.
poses a general threat to society. 1 2 3
is a considerably intelligent person. 1 2 3
has a negative self-concept. 1 2 3
is a hostile person. 1 2 3
will likely become involved in some other type of 123
illegal activity at some point.
is a responsible person. 1 2 3
needs to serve time in a correctional facility in 123
order to be deterred from further illegal activity.
can be steered away from crime through witnessing ~ 1 2 3
tine trial process and may therefore not be in need of
imprisonment. ... v
is now able to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3
lacks the skills to earn a living through legal means. 1 2 3
would be hurt more than helped by Imprisonment. 1 2 3
committed the charged act under coercion (force or 123
persuasion) by others.
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5
4 5

APPENDIX D
PERSONALITY PROFILE

PERSONALITY PROFILE
Case ID#
Using the response key below, rate the defendant in Case # on
each trait/characteristic.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
I I I I I __I I
Never or Usually Sometimes Occasion- Often Usually Almost
Almost not true but infre- ally true true always
never true quently true true true
1. Moody
2. Independent
3. Shy
4. Theatrical
5. Affectionate
6. Loyal
7 S trong persona1ity
8. Unpredictable
9. Forceful
10. Feminine
11. Truthful
12. Reliable
13. Sincere
14. Likable
15. Conceited
16. Masculine
17. Childlike
18. Ambitious
19. Conventional
20. Willing to take risks
21. Uses harsh language
22. Tender
23. Gullible
24. Dominant
25. Happy
71

APPENDIX E
SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION

Reviewer ID#
Case ID#
SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION
(SR-C 145)
Instructions: Consider each of the following sentences in regard to the
suitability of each sentence for the suspect and the crime with which he
is charged. Decide the sentence you believe is most appropriate. Place
a double X (XX) in the space next to that sentence.
Special Note: Even though the State of Florida currently provides a max
imum sentence for the crime you are considering, it is possible that many
favor a higher sentence for the particular crime under consideration.
Ihus, higher options are provided.
My sentence recommendation is as follows:
1. Life in prison with no chance of parole.
_____ 2. Life sentence with a chance of parole after a period to be
determined by Parole Board. I would recommend no parole
before years.
3. Fifteen (15) years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.**
4. Ten (10) years imprisonment and $200,000 fine.
5. Five (5) years imprisonment and $100,000 fine.
6. Three (3) years imprisonment and $50,000 fine.
7. Two (2) years imprisonment. Fine, if any: $ .
8. Fine of $ with no imprisonment.
9- County Jail confinement for a period of one (1) year.
10. County Jail confinement for a 60-day period.
11. Probation (individual must report to court weekly for Progress
Check and must not, during the probation period, be involved
in any type of illegal activity. He/she must also maintain a
steady job and must be in good standing in the community
throughout the probationary period, which shall be of three
(3) calendar years).
12. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for two (2)
years.
13. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for one (1)
year.
**Maximum sentence afforded by current Florida law.
73

74
14. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for six (6)
months.
15. Community service for a period of one (1) calendar year.

APPENDIX F
POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
AND
PERSONAL DATA SHEET

Case ID#
POST-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
Even though you were not asked to make a decision as to whether the de
fendant in the case you examined was guilty or not guilty, think back
to the case you examined and respond to the items below. Place a double
X (XX). in the appropriate spaces.
1. The defendant in the last case I examined, in my belief, is
definitely guilty
most probably guilty
possibly guilty
possibly not guilty
most probably not guilty
definitely not guilty.
2. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the ratings you gpve the defendant on the scales?
Yes, a great deal
Yes, somewhat
Yes, a little
No, not a great deal
No, hardly at all
No, not at all.
3. Did your belief as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant affect
the sentence recommendation you made for that defendant?
Yes, a great deal
Yes, somewhat
Yes, but only a little
No, not a great deal
No, hardly at all
No, not at all.
76

77
Date
Case ID#
Time
Reviewer ID#
4. What is your age? Sex: Male Female
5. Race (circle one): Black White Hispanic Oriental
Other (please specify)
6. What is your classification?
7. What is your major or intended major?
8. In what city and state were you born?
city state
How long did you live in the above location?
9. In what city would you say you grew up?
city state
10.Please circle the category below that you believe most closely esti
mates your family's annual income.
a.
below $5,000
b.
$5,000 -
- $10,000
c.
$10,000
- $15,000
d.
$15,000
- $20,000
e.
$20,000
- $25,000
f.
$25,000
- $30,000
g.
$30,000
- $35,000
h.
$35,000
- $40,000
i.
$40,000
- $45,000
j.
$45,000
- $50,000
k.
$50,000
- $55,000
1.
$55,000
- above
11. Would you describe yourself as being from the (a) lower (b) lower
middle (c) middle (d) upper middle, or (e) upper socio-economic
stratum? (enter appropriate letter)
12. What is your fathers occupation?
13. What is your mother's occupation?
14. What is your current grade-point average? (circle appropriate category)
a. currently below 2.0
b. 2.0 2.3
c. 2.3 2.5
d. 2.5 2.9
e. 3.0 3.3
f. 3.3 3.5
g. 3.5 3.7
h. 3.7 4.0

BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Berscheid, E., and Walster, E. Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz
(Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. "). New
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Social Behavior and Personality, 1976, 4(2), 145-151.
Byrne, D. The attraction paradigm New York: Academic Press, 1971.
Byrne, D., Clore, G., and Worchell, P. Effect of economic similarity-
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Byrne, D., and Nelson, D. Attraction as a linear function of proportion
of positive reinforcements. Journal of Personality and Social
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Chambliss, W., and Seidman, R. Law, order, and power. Reading, Mass.:
Addison-Wesley, 1971.
73

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Clifford, M., and Walster, E. The effect of physical attractiveness
on teacher expectations. Sociology of Education, 1973, 46(2),
248-258.
Davenport, R. Judgement of skin color among Black college students.
Unpublished bachelor's thesis (1969). In R. L. Jones (Ed.),
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Dientsbier, R.. A. Positive andunegative prejudice: Interactions of
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Dion, K., Berscheid. E., and Walster, E. What is beautiful is good.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 285-290.
Dovidio, S. L., and Gaertner, J. F. The subtlety of White racism,
arousal, and helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 1977, 35(10), 691-70?.
Ebbesen, E. B., and Konecni, V. J. The process of sentencing adult
felons: A causal analysis of judicial decision. In B. D. Sales
(Ed.), Perspectives in law and psychology (Vol. 2): The jury,
judicial, and trial process. New York: Plenum, 1981.
Efran, M. G. The effect of physical appearance on the judgement of
guilt, interpersonal attraction, and severity of recommended
punishment in a simulated jury task. Journal of Research Per
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Foley, L. A., and Chamblin, M. H. The effect of race and personality
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Bases of discretion in a first appearance court. International
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Gerbasi, K., Zuckerman, M., and Reis, H. Justice needs a new blindfold
A review of mock jury research. Psychological Bulletin, 1977,
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Hagan, J. Extra-legal attributes and criminal sentencing: An assess
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Johnson, C. S. Growing up in the black belt. New York: Schocken,
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(Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations. Belmont,
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Katz, I., Glass, D. C., and Cohen, S. Ambivalence, guilt and scapegoating
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Kelley, H. H. Attribution in social interaction. Morriston, N. J.:
General Learning Press, 1971.
Kelley, H. H. The processes of causal attribution. American Psychol
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Konecni, V. J., and Ebbesen, E. B. An analysis of the sentencing sys
tem. In V. J. Konecni and E. B. Ebbesen (Eds.), The criminal
justice system: A social-psychological analysis. San Francisco:
W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982.
Landy, D., and Aronson, E. The influence of the criminal and his vic
tim on the decisions of simulated jurors. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 141-152.
Linton, R. The study of man. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1936.
Linville, P. W., and Jones, E. E. Polarized appraisals of out-group
members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 198O, 5,
689-703.
Marks, E. S. Skin color judgements of Negro college students. Journal
of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1943, 38, 370-376.
Newcomb, Theodore. The acquaintance process. New York: Holt, Rinehart,
and Winston, 1961.
Rosenberg, S., and Sedlack, A. Structural representations of implicit-
personality theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experi-
raental social psychology (Vol. 6). New York: Academic Press,
1972.
Schlenker, B. R. Impression management: The self-concept, social
identity, and interpersonal relations. Monterey, Calif.: Brooks-
Cole Publishing Company, 1980.

81
Shaw, M. E., and Gilchrist, J. C. Repetitive task failure and socio
metric choice. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1955,
50, 29-32.
Sherif, M., and Ho viand, C. I. Social judgement: Assimilation and con
trast effects in communication and attitude change. New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1961.
Sigpll, H., and Aronson, E. Liking for an evaluator as a function of
her physical attractiveness and nature of evaluations. Journal
of Experimental Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 93-100.
Sigall, H., and Ostrove, N. Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of
offender attractiveness and nature of the crime on juridicial
judgement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975,
3, 410-414.
Tedeschi, J. T., and Lindskold, S. Social psychology: Interdependence,
interaction, and influence. New York: Wiley, 1976.
Thomas, C. W., and Fitch, W. A. The exercise of discretionary decisions
by the police. North Dakota Law Review, 1977, 54(1), 61-95.
Thornberry, T. P. Race, socio-economic status, and sentencing in the
juvenile system. Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police
Science, 1973, 64^, 90-98.
Walster, E., Aronson, V., Abrahams, D., and Rottman, L. Importance of
physical attractiveness in dating behavior. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 508-516.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Sonja Peterson-Lewis is the daughter of Marie Peterson-Lewis
and Edgar L. Lewis of Macclenny, Florida. She was born in Jacksonville,
Florida, on October 19, 1954, and grew up in the northeast Florida town
of Macclenny. She attended Keller Elementary and Baker County High
School. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the
University of Florida.
82

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Marvin E. Shaw, Chairman
Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Richard R. Scott,
Assistant Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Larry J. Severy,
Associate Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Franz Epting,
Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Rodman Webb,
Associate Professor of Foundations
of Education

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department
of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the
Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the require
ments for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean for Graduate Studies
and Research
August 1983



81
Shaw, M. E., and Gilchrist, J. C. Repetitive task failure and socio
metric choice. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1955,
50, 29-32.
Sherif, M., and Ho viand, C. I. Social judgement: Assimilation and con
trast effects in communication and attitude change. New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1961.
Sigpll, H., and Aronson, E. Liking for an evaluator as a function of
her physical attractiveness and nature of evaluations. Journal
of Experimental Social Psychology, 1969, 5, 93-100.
Sigall, H., and Ostrove, N. Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of
offender attractiveness and nature of the crime on juridicial
judgement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975,
3, 410-414.
Tedeschi, J. T., and Lindskold, S. Social psychology: Interdependence,
interaction, and influence. New York: Wiley, 1976.
Thomas, C. W., and Fitch, W. A. The exercise of discretionary decisions
by the police. North Dakota Law Review, 1977, 54(1), 61-95.
Thornberry, T. P. Race, socio-economic status, and sentencing in the
juvenile system. Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police
Science, 1973, 64^, 90-98.
Walster, E., Aronson, V., Abrahams, D., and Rottman, L. Importance of
physical attractiveness in dating behavior. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 1966, 4, 508-516.


50
Beyond affecting our perceptions and evaluations, person variables can
affect our behavior toward others such that we are willing to disperse
awards and punishment on the basis of these variables. The fact that
two people who are the same in every respect except for grade-point
average could be evaluated so differently in terms of character, and
subsequently sentenced to different levels of punishment for a crime of
which they are both perceived to be guilty speaks of the strength of
the implicit assumptions we make about others. In addition, this fact
speaks of the faith we place in these assumptions.
Of course, it is perhaps not without reason that the subjects in
the present study demonstrated more of a willingness to be more lenient
with high achievers than with low achievers. It seems logical that a
person who achieves might in fact possess many virtuous qualities. Per
haps the correlation between achievement and personality had been more
real than illusory in the subjects experiences, leading them to expect
less likelihood of future criminal behaviors on the part of the high
achieving offender.
The further assumption that this high achieving individual is a
reliable and sincere person may also be a reasonable assumption.
Schlenker (1980) notes that persons with high status tend to be given
prerogatives not afforded to those of lower status. One's achievements
are, of course, a type of status, and in this vein, it is highly possible
that high achievers were therefore afforded benefits that low achievers
were not afforded. High achievers were afforded the assumption of a
non-criminal character and a positive, virtuous personality as though
they were being given credit for their academic prowess. Beyond these
concessions, high achievers were afforded the prerogative to endure


28
Thble 1
Items Comprising Criminality Factor
Item Loading
. . may also be involved in substance abuse 0.67
. . committed the charged act under his own accord 0.74
. . will likely become involved in some other type of
illegal activity at some point 0.59
. . committed the charged act under force or
coercion from others. -0.66
Note: Items listed are those with loadings at or above .50 on the
first factor.


5
less inhibited in openly basing their decisions about offenders on extra
legpl variables. Though social desirability of response is a factor in
laboratory research, it is perhaps just as mch a factor in judicial
sentencing dispositions. It may be that it is easier to trace subjects'
decisions back to a set of factors than it is to trace real jurors or
judges' decisions. Subjects more often leave some type of concrete
path (an offender rating sheet, for example), than do jurors or judges.
Typically, judges are not asked to rate the offender on a set of vari
ables assumed to be related to sentencing. It may be that consideration
of such variables does occur. However, since judges are not obligated
to verbalize or document these, and since they might prefer that these
be unknown, it can not be definitively concluded that such variables
do not mediate sentencing decisions. It is possible that though studies
of subjects in laboratories do not always produce results identical or
predictive of those in the courtroom, laboratory studies do allow us to
take a better look at the variables that mediate courtroom decisions.
Ebbesen and Konecni's conclusions are contrary to an abundance of
social science research that addresses person perception and decision
making in the context of criminal evaluations, as well as evaluations in
other situations. There is strong evidence from general person percep
tion research that supports the view that seemingly irrelevant person
variables influence observers' evaluations and decisions about stimulus
persons. An examination of some of the research not directly related
to criminal evaluations is beneficial to understanding why certain vari
ables have an influence on attribution and decisions.
One of the most popular variables in social research has been race
Allen (1976) concluded that the high visibility of race is the factor


APPENDIX B
CRIME REPORT FORM


56
the qualities of the individual provided in the personal data sheet and
your personal impressions. On the sentencing sheets, you will notice
that a number of different sentences are provided. Somewhere between
the top and'bottom sentences, you will see two asterisks. These asterisks
represent the sentence that is currently mandated by the Florida statutes.
Although this is the sentence that the laws recommend, other sentences
have been provided since you may feel that this sentence is either too
light or too lenient for the crime and the offender involved. Therefore,
heavier and lighter sentences are provided. If you feel a lighter sen
tence is more appropriate, you are free to recommend that sentence. If
you feel a more severe sentence is appropriate, you should recommend
that sentence. It is not at all uncommon for a court counselor to
recommend either a tougher or more lenient sentence depending on the
counselor's impressions of the offender.
Agpin, we realize that the information you will have on each of
fender may seem very limited. We ask that you keep in mind that the
information we have provided you is information identical to that a
court counselor might get in interviewing the person. The only thing
the counselor has that you do not is an actual offender sitting there
in front of him or her. It is important that you attempt to form an
impression based on the information you have. We want to see if your
judgements are just as valid as or similar to the counselor's judgements.
Do you have any questions? (Experimenter answers questions to the
best of ability. Unanswerable questions should be simply classified
as such, or the subjects may be asked to refer their questions to the
researcher (give researcher's telephone number).


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Social psychological research has frequently focused upon the ef
fects of stimulus person variables on the attributions observers make
about the stimulus person. The particular characteristics focused upon
are determined by the researchers' purposes. For example, in studies of
liking behavior, the focus has often been on physical appearance (Berscheid
and WaIster, 1974; Dion, Berscheid and Walster, 1972; and Walster, Aronson,
Abrahams and Rottman, 1966). Generally speaking, the findings from this
research demonstrate that the greater the attractiveness of the stimulus
person, the more positive will be the overall evaluations given that
stimulus person by observers, and the greater the degree of liking ex
pressed for that stimulus person.
Similarly, the role of perceived attitude similarity has been ob
served (Byrne, 1971; Byrne and Nelson, 1965; and Newcomb, 1961), as has
the role of economic similarity (Byrne, Clore and Worchell, 1966). Re
sults from this research have shown that the more similar observers per
ceive others to be to themselves, the greater the degree of liking ob
servers express for those others.
Another area of person perception that has received a considerable
amount of attention, and the one with which this study is concerned, is
the area of criminal evaluation and sentencing. Both laboratory and
field research have been undertaken to determine the effects of offender
or defendant-variables on jurors' decisions. Generally, in laboratory
1


38
Mean
Virtue
Rating
Complexion
Figure 1. Achievement X Color Interaction on Virtue Rating.


64
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Father's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Short-Order Cook
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Maid (private home)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying playing cards,
basketball, dancing, playing checkers, listening to music.
School Attending (code) XXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXXXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0
Current Status: Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer


31
recommendation were used as dependent measures in a MANOVA to determine
whether the respondent variables (subjects' sex, classification, grade-
point average, and income level) were significant with regard to of
fender evaluation. All respondent variables were shown to be non
significant in the MANOVA as well as in the univariate models. Because
subjects' sex was non-significant as an independent variable, Hypothesis
6that females would sentence more severely than maleswas not sup
ported.
In order to test the remaining five hypotheses, a MANOVA was per
formed on the offender variables (SES, achievement, and color). The
MANOVA revealed overall non-significance of the SES variable, F (3,
'157) = 0.12, p > .05. This finding indicates non-confirmation of both
Hypothesis 1 (which predicted that low SES persons would receive more
negative evaluations than higher SES offenders! and Hypothesis 2 (that
low SES offenders would receive harsher sentences). Achievement, how
ever, was highly significant overall, F (3, 157) = 16.49, p < 0.001,
indicating that Hypothesis 3 and Hypothesis 4 could be tested for uni
variate effects. There was no significant main effect due to color,
F (3, 157) 1.16, p > .05. However, there was a significant inter
action between color and achievement, F (3, 157) = 3.25, p < .05.
These results are summarized in Table 4. As previously noted, Hypo
thesis 5 could not be tested due to the small number of Black subjects
available.
The effects shown to be significant in the MANOVA were further
examined through an analysis of variance (ANOVA) for unbalanced designs.
The ANOVA revealed that the model for the Criminality factor was highly


48
impressions juries and judges have of the offender apparently influence
their ultimate sentence recommendations. This interpretation is sup
ported by Kalven and Zeisel (1966), who found that judges reported that
11 percent of the eases in which judges and jurors disagreed in their

evaluations of the offender was due to the jurors' having formed an overly
positive impression of the offender based on extra-legal variables. Thus,
when the offender has positive characteristics and dieretion allows,
guilt may become a discounted variable.
In view of the research that has suggested that the actual or per
ceived SES of the offender influences sentencing (Chambliss and Seidman,
1971; Hagan, 1973; Thornberry, 1973; Foley and Chamblin, 1980), it is
possible that the type of crime used in the present study accounted for
the absence of an SES effect. Most studies showing an effect of the
offender's SES have focused on crimes in which another individual was
physically harmed (e.g., homicide, rape, etc.), or on other types of
crimes in which there was a specific victim. This is true of both
laboratory experiments and field studies. It may be that in crimes in
which people are injured, the SES of the offender is perceived as being
more relevant than other variables and perhaps more relevant than achieve
ment, since it is possible that SES may be perceived to be more of an
index of personal aggressiveness (Chambliss and Seidman, 1971)- In
many cases, low SES offenders may be believed to be more aggressive and .
more likely to pose a general threat to society than high SES offenders.
The interaction between color and achievement in the present study
nay be related to Linville and Jones' (1980) polarization hypothesis.
According to these researchers, observers tend to polarize their ratings
of out-group members on the basis of the positivity or negativity of the


60
PERSONAL HISTORY
Parental Information
Fathers Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Father's Occupation Attorney-at-Law
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX
Mother's Name XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Mother's Occupation Art Instructor (Grades A, 5, 6)
Employer's Name and Address XXXXXXXXX
Personal Data
Activities/Involvements/Clubs, etc.: Reports enjoying board sailing,
horseback riding (member of Equestrian Club), playing trumpet, chess
School Attending (code)XXXXXXX City (code) XXXXX State (code) XXX
Major Political Science Grade-Point Average 3.88 Scale 4.0
Current Status Suspended pending trial outcome
Comments: Suspect reported attending the above-coded college prior to
arrest. Review of records revealed the above information regarding
major area of study and grade-point.
Case Reviewer


33
significant, F (7, 159) = 2.97, p < .01. Further examination of the
sources of variation showed that achievement was highly significant on
the Criminality factor, F (1, 159) = 12.40, p < .001. An examination
of the means for achievement groups on Criminality showed that Hypo
thesis 3 was confirmed. The mean Criminality rating for low achieving
offenders was significantly higher (more negative) than the mean rating
for high achieving offenders (4.08 vs. 3.70, respectively). This sig
nificant difference indicates that subjects used the achievement of
the offender as an index of the offender's criminal motivations (in
ternal vs. external) and his propensity for further criminal involve
ment. These results are summarized in Tables 5 and 6.
The univariate procedure also revealed overall significance for the
model containing the Virtues variable, F (7, 159) = 7.72, p < .001. As
predicted, low achievers received less positive ratings on this factor
than did high achieving offenders. Low achievers received a mean
rating of 3.27 while high achievers received a mean rating of 4.17,
where a score of one would indicate that subjects did not believe the
offender possessed the virtuous quality and a score of seven would in
dicate subjects believed the offender displayed the characteristic most
or all of the time. The presence of a significant Achievement X Color
interaction does not contradict the above finding; however, it requires
interpretation. The interaction effect was such that high achievers
were always rated more positively than low achievers on the Virtues vari
able; however, light complexioned (LC) offenders who were high achievers
were rated significantly higher on Virtues than dark complexioned (DC)
high achievers (LC = 4.38, DC = 3.97). However, light complexioned


2
research of this type, individual subjects or groups of subjects must
make two decisions. First, they must decide whether the defendant is
guilty or not guilty of the crime with which he/she is charged. If the
defendant is found guilty, subjects must then recommend sentence or
level of punishment.
A variety of factors can affect the judgement of guilt or non
guilt and the sentence recommendation. Many of these factors are directly
related to interpersonal attraction and person perception. Efran (1974)
found that the physical attractiveness of the defendant played an im
portant role in determining whether the offender was adjudicated guilty
or not guilty. Attractive defendants were less likely to be found guilty
than were unattractive defendants. Even when found guilty, attractive
defendants were likely to be given a less severe sentence than an un
attractive counterpart. Sigall and Ostrove (1975) found that this
sentencing tendency held true unless the defendant had used his/her
attractiveness in committing the crime.
Once a defendant has been judged guilty, the task of recommending
a sentence or level of punishment is at hand. Depending on the type of
crime, jurors or subjects may have at their discretion a wide range of
sentencing possibilities. A variety of variables other than physical
attractiveness have been found to influence sentencing decisions in both
laboratory and real jury studies.
Hemphill (1978) asserts that some of the factors that can affect
sentence severity are (1) type of crime, (2) offender's previous record,
(3) offender's age, (4) family background and family stability, (5)
whether the offender is viewed as a menace to society, (6) whether the
crime with which the offender is charged was an individual act or part


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Marvin E. Shaw, Chairman
Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Richard R. Scott,
Assistant Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Larry J. Severy,
Associate Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Franz Epting,
Professor of Psychology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Dr. Rodman Webb,
Associate Professor of Foundations
of Education


The dispositional items and the personality items were submitted
to factor analysis. A Criminality factor reflecting criminal motivation
and a Virtues factor reflecting personal virtues emerged from the dis
positional items and personality items, respectively. Results showed
that high achievers were perceived as having lower criminal motivations
and higher personal virtues than low achievers. The mean sentence recom
mendation for low achievers was significantly higher than that for high
achievers.
A significant interaction between achievement and color was present
such that light complexioned offenders received polarized (extreme) vir
tue ratings depending on their achievement level. Light complexioned
high achievers received high positive ratings while light complexioned
low achievers received low negative ratings. Dark complexioned offenders
were given relatively moderate ratings with high achievers being rated
more positively than low achievers. No effect of SES was found.
The findings are discussed in terms of the implicit personality
theory and ascribed vs. achieved status.
viii


12
motivated, it would follow that they would be more likely to conclude
that the offender has a criminal disposition. Heider (1958) proposed
that a given ouicons depends on a combination of personal force and
environmental force. The greater the degree of personal force observers
perceive on the part of a criminal offender, the more likely observers
are to believe that the behavior that led to the outcome was internally
motivated, and that the behavior tells something about the actor as
opposed to the environment.
It follows from Heider's conceptualization that the greater the
observer's belief that an act was internally motivated, the more the
observers should hold the actor personally responsible for that act,
and the greater should be the observer's belief that the offender should
be punished for his act. The greater the transgression, the greater
should be the desire to punish and the extent of the punishment.
Some research has shown that even though an individual may be
guilty of an offense, there are certain variables that can lead eva
luators to conclude that one offender does not need to be punished as
severely as another offender. Landy and Aronson (1969) found that the
social status of the offender played an important role in subjects'
perceptions of the degree of punishment appropriate for the offender.
High and medium status offenders received less severe sentence recom
mendations than did low status offenders. Austin, Walster and Utne
(1976) found that offenders who were presumed to have suffered in the
course of a harmful act received less severe sentence recommendations
than offenders who were not believed to have suffered.
Kalven and Zeisel (1966) concluded that those who are believed
to regret their crimes are viewed more positively by the jurors and


17
Hypothesis 2. The lower evaluations of the low SES offenders will
be positively related to their receiving more severe sentences than
higher SES offenders.
Hypothesis 3. Low achievers will be more negatively evaluated
than hi^i achievers.
Hypothesis 4. The lower evaluation of low achievers will be
positively related to their receiving more severe sentences than high
achievers.
Hypothesis 5. Black subjects will show a tendency to differen
tiate on the basis of color such that less positive characteristics are
assigned to darker Blacks than to lighter Blacks,*
Hypothesis 6. Females will impose harsher sentences than males.
*0ne of the original goals of this study was to conpare the responses of
Black and White subjects to the skin color variable. However, due to the
small number of Black subjects available, this comparison could not be
made, and Hypothesis 5 could not be tested.


APPENDIX A
EXPERIMENTER SCRIPT
You are probably aware that a great amount of money is spent each
year in programs designed to train people as court counselors or court
liasons. These court counselors advise the judges in nonjury trials
as to what should be the sentence for certain types of offenders, since
it is impossible for the judge to devote time to scrutinizing each case
which comes before him or her.
One offender of particular concern is the offender whose crime is
drug-related. Many agencies hire and train people to focus specifically
on the felony drug offenses. The training program for court counselors
is an extensive and also a very expensive process. Each potential coun
selor must be interviewed, and if selected he or she must undergo an
intensive program in psychology, sociology, and law. In addition, the
individual must attend a series of seminars and lectures on the uses
and abuses of drugs.
The use of court counselors is becoming very popular. You may
be aware that a number of college campuses have counselors appointed
to work specifically with students who have been involved in drug-
related offenses.
We are concerned as to whether the expensive training programs as
they currently exist are really necessary. We are investigating whether
untrained persons, given information similar to that which a court
counselor would gather from the client, can make decisions that are
53


CHAPTER 2
THE PROPOSED STUDY
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of the
socio-economic status, academic achievement, and skin color of a Black
male who is an alleged criminal offender on (1) the dispositional and
personality characteristics subjects assigned to the individual and (2)
the severity of the sentence recommended for the individual by subjects.
Desigp of the Study
Two levels of each of the three offender variables fsocio-economic
status, academic achievement, and color) were employed in the present
study. The combination of these variables formed a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial
or eight-condition design. The eight conditions were
(a) High SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 111)
lb) High SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 121)
(c) Low SES, High Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 211)
(d) Low SES, Low Achievement, Dark Complexion (Code 221)
(e) High SES, High Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 112)
(f) High SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 122)
(g) Low SES, High Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 212)
(h) Low SES, Low Achievement, Light Complexion (Code 222).
In addition to the offender variables, the subject variable, sex,
was of primary interest. The major dependent variables were (1) group
scores on the. items comprising the factor derived from the Offender
Disposition Scale, (2) group scores on the items comprising the factor
derived from the Personality Profile, and (3) the sentence recommendation.
18


25
Report (ODR) item 7 (" . comes from a weak family background.")
and ODR item 20 (" ... is a considerably intelligent person.") were
submitted as dependent measures in an GLM analysis of variance procedure
The model for item 7 was highly significant overall, F (7, 161) =
20.34, p < 0.001. Examination of the sources of variation showed that
socio-economic status was highly significant, F (1, 161) = 126.75, p <
0.001. The mean for low socio-economic status offenders was 2.36 on
this item while the mean for high socio-economic status offenders was
4.27, where a score of one indicated subjects strongly believed the
item was true of the offender and a score of five indicated strong dis
belief. Educational achievement was also significant on this item,
though not as highly significant as SES, F (1, 161) = 8.21, p < .005.
The mean for high achievers was 3.56, while the mean for low achievers
was 3.06. These means indicate that high achievers were less likely to
be rated as being from a weak family background than were low achievers.
The overall model for item 20 was also highly significant, F (1,
161) = 81.69, £ < .001. The mean for high achievers was 1.79 and 3.28
for low achievers, with a score of one indicating that subjects strongly
believed the attribute (intelligent) was true of the offender and a
score of five indicating strong disbelief. Thus, high achievers were
rated as being more intelligent than low achievers. There was also a
significant effect of SES on this item such that high SES offenders
were perceived more positively (more intelligent) than low SES offenders
The mean for high SES offenders was 2.36 and 2.71 for low SES offenders.
The results of the manipulation check indicate that subjects were
aware of the family background and achievement information given for
each offender. The results also seem to indicate that subjects not only


40
Table 8
Results of Analysis of Variance for Effects
of Offender Variables on Sentence Recommendation
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model
(7,
159)
1.67
0.12
SES
d,
159)
0.00
0.98
Achievement*
(1,
159)
7.41
0.007*
Color
(1,
159)
1.34
0.24
SES X Achievement
(1,
159)
0.00
0.95
SES X Color
(1,
159)
1.46
0.22
Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.69
0.40
SES X Achievement X Color
n,
159)
0.24
0.62
*p < .05.


36
Table 7
Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Virtues Factor
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model*
(7,
159)
7.72
0.0001*
SES
(1,
159)
0.34
0.56
Achievement*
(1,
159)
44.98
0.0001*
Color
(1,
159)
0.94
0.33
SES X Achievement
(1,
159)
0.30
0.58
SES X Color
(1,
159)
0.96
0.32
Achievement X Color*
(1,
159)
4.38
0.03*
SES X Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.12
0.73
*p < .05.


74
14. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for six (6)
months.
15. Community service for a period of one (1) calendar year.


13
tend to receive less severe sentence recommendations. These results
seem to strongly suggest that jurors make assumptions about the offender's
character on the basis of his/her status, and these assumptions are more
positive-for high status than low status persons.
When taken together, the research results discussed here seem to
indicate that a stimulus person's physical appearance, group membership,
social image, and race are all highly important factors in the attribu
tion and evaluation process. Observers in a variety of situations ranging
from liking studies to criminal sentencing appear to be willing to base
a number of decisions on these person variables. Rewards and punishment
appear to be mediated in many cases by the observer's assessment of
these variables and the meaning observers attach to these variables.
It appears highly appropriate to conclude that when observers have no
information about a stimulus person other than the physical appearance,
unattractive persons and members of stigmtized groups are negatively
evaluated. When personal or background information is given, the eva
luation tends to assume the direction of the informationthat is,
ratings become polarized. Generally, positive information results in
positive evaluations while negative information results in negative eva
luations. Out-group members with positive characteristics are evaluated
more positively than in-group members with identical characteristics,
but more negatively than in-group members when both have negative
characteristics.
Most of the research on the effects of offender variables on ob
servers' evaluations appears to have focused on either in-group vs. out
group evaluations or on in-group members with positive characteristics
vs. in-group members with negative characteristics or some combination


46
Ascribed characteristics, such as SES, may not be perceived as in
dicative of one's true character as other variables. The individual's
own behavior has not been implicated in his possession of ascribed status.
While one may assume that diligence and adherence to a strong work ethic
.spins one admittance to a higher social and economic class, in the present
study it is the offenders' parents and not the offender himself who would
have demonstrated this diligence. The opposite is true for the offender's
achievements. Any spins made in this area would have to be indicative of
personal diligence and hard work on the part of the offender. Consequently,
the conclusion may have been drawn that this diligence carried over into
other aspects of the offender's life. It follows that given achievement
information and SES information, observers would believe achievement to
be more relevant to the situation in the present study and to the decision
they had to make.
The Criminality factor that emerged in the present study was com
prised of items related to whether the defendant committed the act on
his own accord, committed the act by force from others, whether he was
involved in drug abuse, and whether he was likely to become involved in
some other type of illegal activity at some point. Regardless of socio
economic status, high achievers were perceived as less likely to have
committed the act on their own accord (and therefore more likely to have
acted under coercion), less likely to be involved in drug abuse, and
less likely to become involved in further criminal activity than low
achievers. In view of the fact that recidivism (commission of the same
crime again) is theoretically a major concern in sentencing, it is
higfrly reasonable that offenders who were perceived as being less per
sonally motivated toward crime and less involved in drug use which might


32
Table 4
Results of MANOVA Tests for Significance of Offender Variables
on Criminality Factor, Virtues Factor, and Sentence Recomtnendation
Source
DF
F
Pr> F
SES
(3,
157)
0.12
0.94
Achievement*
(3,
157)
1.49
0.0001*
Color
(3,
157)
1.16
0.32
SES X Achievement
(3,
157)
0.86
0.46
SES X Color
(3,
157)
1.64
0.18
Achievement X Color*
(3,
157)
3.25
0.02*
SES X Achievement X Color
(3,
157)
0.10
0.99
*p < .05
Note: Due to missing values, total N for this analysis 160.


Copyright 1983
by
Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis


11
of those benefiting from affirmative action, the observer my be ex
pected to differentially evaluate the adequacy, competency, or qualifi
cations of those individuals for certain situations (e.g., law school
admission). The direction of the evaluation depends on the activation -
of one of two attribution principles. Kelly's (1971) augmentation prin
ciple would predict that observers, in evaluating a strong positive cre
dentials sheet of an out-group member, would construe that group member
as having overcome tremendous obstacles to arrive at his/her level of
achievement. Affirmative action programs would be seen as only of minor,
if any, help to the Individual. The out-group member would be given ex
treme positive ratings in motivation, ability, etc. However, Jones
and Davis' (1965) discounting principle would predict that the role of
some factors in bringing about an event (e.g., admission to law school)
may be discounted if other possible causes are present. Thus, in eva
luating an out-group law school applicant, the observer may either per
ceive internal factors such as motivation and ability as being the basis
of the applicant's admission, or the observer may perceive external
factors such as admission criteria as being the basis for admission.
The salience of affirmative action programs may lead the observer to
discount internal factors and focus instead on the role of affirmative
action in the applicant's admission. The subsequent evaluation of the
out-group applicant should reveal low or less positive perceptions of
the applicant's credentials than those of an in-group member with iden
tical credentials who is not perceived as benefiting from external
factors.
Linville and Jones' research is relevant to the evaluation of
criminal offenders. If evaluators view the offense as being internally


APPENDIX E
SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Sonja Peterson-Lewis is the daughter of Marie Peterson-Lewis
and Edgar L. Lewis of Macclenny, Florida. She was born in Jacksonville,
Florida, on October 19, 1954, and grew up in the northeast Florida town
of Macclenny. She attended Keller Elementary and Baker County High
School. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the
University of Florida.
82


16
discrepancy in evaluations and sentencing would be attributable to the
evaluator's perception of the offender. Sentencing can be discrepant
only to the extent that the type of crime allows it to be. Thus, the
type of crime with which the offender is charged must be one that will
allow the use of discretion on the part of the evaluator. The optimal
type of crime to use in this situation is the category of crimes called
"victimless" crimes. These allow use of discretion because depending
on the evaluator's perception of the offender's intent, a very severe
or a very lenient sentence may be imposed. A crime that seems optimal
for these purposes is drug trafficking. This act is criminal as de
fined by most state statutes. However, it is often referred to as a
victimless crime because persons involved in the use of drugs are
assumed to be so because they chose to be. Responsibility for the act
rests with the person who sells the drug, or the person who buys it.
Depending on evaluators' view of the offender, it is conceivable that
the level of recommended punishment may vary from very severe to very
lenient.
The present study proposes to examine the effects of three non-
leg^l offender variables, socio-economic status (SES), academic achieve
ment, and skin color on the evaluations subjects give Black allegad
offenders on a variety of measures research has claimed to be associated
with sentencing outcomes.
In view of the research findings reviewed in this chapter, the
following predictions have been made:
Hypothesis 1. Low SES offenders will be rated more negatively
than higher SES offenders. Subjects will perceive the low SES offender
as more of an example of a "real criminal" than higher SES offenders.


30
Table 3
Results of MANOVA Test for Experimenter, Condition, and Experimenter X
Condition Effects on Criminality, Personal Virtue, and Sentence Recommendation.
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Experimenter
( 6, 280)
0.78
0.5838
Condition
21, 419
2.89
0.0001*
Experimenter X
Condition
(42, 419)
1.06
0.3876
*p < .05.
Note: Calculations are based on the Hotteling-Lawley test of significance.


3
of a series of offenses, and (7) whether there is evidence that the of
fender is ready to assume responsibility for his act and to be rehabil
itated.
Congruent with Hemphill's view, Tedeschi and Lindskold (1976)
propose that the degree of punishment given a defendant may be based on
subjective predictions about the receptivity of the defendant to a par
ticular type of punishment. Thus, background, previous offenses, status,
and a variety of other offender variables may influence the decisions
an evaluator makes about an offender.
Thornberry (1973), in a study of judicial sentencing of juvenile
offenders, found that Blacks and low socio-economic status (SES) persons
tend to be sentenced more harshly than non-Blacks and higher status per
sons. Thornberry contends that when the number of offenses and the type
of crime is held constant, racial and status differences do not disappear.
Bullock (1961) contended that the harsher sentencing of Blacks may be
motivated by the desire to protect the order of the larger community.
The indication here is that the persons making sentencing decisions per
ceive the Black offender as a threat to tradition or order of the larger
community.
Ebbesen and Konecni (1981), while acknowledging the array of re
search that has demonstrated the effects of variables such as social
background, social status, family connections, etc., on sentencing,
concluded that there is little evidence that these variables are active
in judicial sentencing decisions. Their coding and examination of a
large number of sentencing hearings led them to the conclusion that the
only three factors consistently influencing sentencing decisions were
(1) severity of the crime, (2) offenders' previous offenses, and (3)


79
Clifford, M., and Walster, E. The effect of physical attractiveness
on teacher expectations. Sociology of Education, 1973, 46(2),
248-258.
Davenport, R. Judgement of skin color among Black college students.
Unpublished bachelor's thesis (1969). In R. L. Jones (Ed.),
Black psychology. New York: Harper and Row, 1972.
Dientsbier, R.. A. Positive andunegative prejudice: Interactions of
prejudice with race and social desirability. Journal of Per
sonality, 1970, 38, 198-215.
Dion, K., Berscheid. E., and Walster, E. What is beautiful is good.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 285-290.
Dovidio, S. L., and Gaertner, J. F. The subtlety of White racism,
arousal, and helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 1977, 35(10), 691-70?.
Ebbesen, E. B., and Konecni, V. J. The process of sentencing adult
felons: A causal analysis of judicial decision. In B. D. Sales
(Ed.), Perspectives in law and psychology (Vol. 2): The jury,
judicial, and trial process. New York: Plenum, 1981.
Efran, M. G. The effect of physical appearance on the judgement of
guilt, interpersonal attraction, and severity of recommended
punishment in a simulated jury task. Journal of Research Per
sonality 1974, 8, 45-54.
Foley, L. A., and Chamblin, M. H. The effect of race and personality
on mock jurors' decisions. Unpublished nanuscript, University
of North Florida, 1980.
Frazier, C. E. Appearance, demeanor, and backstage negotiations:
Bases of discretion in a first appearance court. International
Journal of the Sociology of Law, 1979, 7, 197-209.
Gerbasi, K., Zuckerman, M., and Reis, H. Justice needs a new blindfold
A review of mock jury research. Psychological Bulletin, 1977,
84(2), 323-345.
Hagan, J. Extra-legal attributes and criminal sentencing: An assess
ment of a sociological viewpoint. Law and Society Review, 1973
74, 8, 357-383.
Heider, F. The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York:
Wiley, 1958.
Helwig, J., and Council, K. (Eds.). SAS User's Guide. Cary, N. C,:
SAS Institute, Inc., 1979, 237-263.
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Santa Monica, Calif.: Goodyear Publishing Company, Inc., 1978.


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department
of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the
Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the require
ments for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Dean for Graduate Studies
and Research
August 1983


15
degree of discrimination the individual makes within categories concerning
that issue. Therefore, one might expect Blacks to be more sensitive than
Whites to differences in skin shades among Blacks, and to possibly at
tribute different characteristics to other Blacks on the basis of skin
color. It is interesting to note that to date, there appears to be
little data available on the sensitivity of Whites to skin color varia
tions among Blacks.
In addition to person variables such as skin color which may affect
observers' evaluation of stimulus persons, the evaluation may also be
affected by the nature of the proposed outcomes.
Depending on the situation, outcomes may range from very positive
(such as being accepted into the professional school of one's choice)
to very negative (being sentenced to the electric chair). When evalua
tors are asked to indicate their perceptions of a stimulus person on a
variety of measures and to make some type of decision regarding that
stimulus person, it would appear that the ultimate decision would be in
some way related to the ratings given that person. The more positive
the perception of the stimulus, the more positive should be the ratings
and the ultimate decision. Observers should be motivated to recommend
positive outcomes for persons they perceive positively, and negative or
less positive outcomes for persons they perceive negatively.
In the context of the evaluation and sentencing of a criminal
offender, it appears evident that the evaluator must consider at
least three factors. These are (1) the crime, (2) the individual ac
cused of the crime, and (3) the range of options or sentences avail
able for the crime. If, across offenders, the type of crime and the
range of sentencing options are held constant, it follows that any


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
EVALUATING THE CRIMINAL OFFENDER:
THE EFFECTS OF OFFENDERS SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS,
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND OOLOR ON
PERSONALITY ATTRIBUTIONS AND SENTENCING
By
Sonja Marie Peterson-Lewis
August 1983
Chairman: Dr. Marvin E. Shaw
Major Department: Psychology
This laboratory experiment examined the effects of Black alleged
criminal offenders' socio-economic status (SES), academic achievement,
and skin color on the personality and criminal attributes White under
graduate males and feriales assigned to these alleged offenders. The in
fluence of these \ariables on subjects' subsequent sentence recommenda
tions was also examined. It was predicted that offenders who were high
in SES, high in achievement, and light in complexion would be assigned
more positive attributes and sentenced less severely than those who
were low in SES, low in achievement, and dark in complexion.
Subjects were given a photograph of a Black male who was an alleged
drug offender. The photograph was attached to a bogas crime report which
provided bogus SES and academic achievement (grade-point average) infor
mation. Socio-economic status and achievement scores were either high
or low, and alleged offenders' complexion was either light or dark. Each
subject rated one stimulus person on 30 dispositional items, 25 person
ality items, and recommended one of 15 sentences that ranged in severity
from life imprisonment to community service.
vi 1


21
The content of the Offender Disposition items is based on these
variables, with the exception of the type of crime, offenders previous
record, and offender's age, since these three were held constant in the
present study. The purpose of including these items was to determine
if the offenders' SES, achievement, and color would affect subjects'
perceptions of the offenders with regard to the dispositions reflected
in the items. The Offender Disposition items appear in Appendix C.
Each stimulus packet also contained a 25-item Personality Profile
consisting of 25 adjectives on which subjects rated the offenders. The
items were chosen on the basis of their relationship to the factors pur
ported to influence judicial sentencing. These factors were compared
to subscales of the California Personality Inventory, and adjectives
from the subscales were selected on the basis of the relevance to criminal
evaluation. The subscales "socialization," "poise, ascendancy, and self-
assurance," and "achievement potential" account for the inclusion of
18 items. The remaining ten items were chosen from a list of adjectives,
and these reflect general personality characteristics related to basic
personality or demeanor. The purpose of the Personality Profile items
was to determine if subjects held different perceptions about the of
fenders' personalities on the basis of offenders' SES, achievement,
and color.
Although test-retest reliability for the CPI has been calculated
as being between .57 and 77, these figures are not applicable here since
the CPI was not used in its entirety. The Personality Profile appears
in Appendix D.
Sentencing recommendation. The 15 sentencing levels included on
the Sentence Recommendation sheet were developed to provide subjects


39
In summary, the foregoing results indicate that offenders' achieve
ment level had a significant effect on whether subjects perceived the
offender to have internal criminal motivations, with high achievers being
less likely to be perceived as having internal motivations than low
achievers. High achievers were also likely to be perceived as having
more virtuous qualities, but this effect was affected by the offenders'
color. Ligjit complexioned high achievers were perceived as signifi
cantly more virtuous than dark complexioned high achievers, but light
complexioned low achievers were perceived as slightly less virtuous
than dark complexioned low achievers. Finally, though subjects did not
associate different probabilities of guilt with offenders on the basis
of achievement, they did recommend significantly less severe sentences
for high achievers than for low achievers.


37
offenders who were low achievers were rated lower than dark complexioned
low achievers on Virtues, though not significantly so (LC mean = 3.20,
DC mean = 3.35). This effect is similar to Linville and Jones' (1980)
polarization effect and is shown graphically in Figure 1.
The sentence recommendation model was shown to be marginally sig
nificant, F (7, 159) = 1-79, (Pr > F = .09). This significance allows
an interpretation of a highly significant achievement effect, F (1, 159)
= 8.78, p < .01. As predicted, those offenders who were high achievers
were sentenced less harshly than low achievers. The mean sentence
recommendation for high achievers was 8.03 and 6.66 for low achievers,
where a score of one indicates the harshest sentence and a score of 15
indicates the least severe. Sentencing level eight represents a penalty
of a fine with no imprisonment, while penalty six represents a penalty
of three years imprisonment and a fine, and level seven represents two
years imprisonment with optional fine. Thus, while imprisonment was
recommended for low achievers on the average, this was not true for high
achievers. These results are summarized in Table 8.
The Post-Session Questionnaire (PSQ) items were submitted as
dependent measures in an ANOVA to determine if the offender variables
influenced subjects perceptions of the probability of guilt of the
offenders, and if this affected the subjects' evaluations of the of
fenders and subjects' sentencing of the offenders. Respondent variables
were also tested for possible effects on responses to the PSQ items.
The MANOVA conducted for the PSQ items revealed non-significance
of all offender variables and respondent variables. This indicated
that neither the offender variables nor the respondent variables sig-
nfiicantly affected subjects' responses to the PSQ items.


34
Thble 5
Results of Analysis of Variance (GLM) for Effects
of Offender Variables on Criminality Factor
Source
DF
F
Pr > F
Model*
(7,
159)
2.97
0.0061*
SES
(1,
159)
0.05
0.82
Achievement*
(1,
159)
12.40
0.0006*
Color
(1,
159)
0.22
0.6419
SES X Achievement
M,
159)
1.87
0.1739
SES X Color**
(1,
159)
3.66
0.0510*
Achievement X Color
(1,
159)
1.95
0.1640
SES X Achievement X Color
d,
159)
0.00
0.9895
*Significant at or above the .05 level.
**Significant on the Criminality variable,
but insignificant in the MAN0VA


Dedicated to Marie Peterson-Lewis


Reviewer ID#
Case ID#
SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION
(SR-C 145)
Instructions: Consider each of the following sentences in regard to the
suitability of each sentence for the suspect and the crime with which he
is charged. Decide the sentence you believe is most appropriate. Place
a double X (XX) in the space next to that sentence.
Special Note: Even though the State of Florida currently provides a max
imum sentence for the crime you are considering, it is possible that many
favor a higher sentence for the particular crime under consideration.
Ihus, higher options are provided.
My sentence recommendation is as follows:
1. Life in prison with no chance of parole.
_____ 2. Life sentence with a chance of parole after a period to be
determined by Parole Board. I would recommend no parole
before years.
3. Fifteen (15) years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.**
4. Ten (10) years imprisonment and $200,000 fine.
5. Five (5) years imprisonment and $100,000 fine.
6. Three (3) years imprisonment and $50,000 fine.
7. Two (2) years imprisonment. Fine, if any: $ .
8. Fine of $ with no imprisonment.
9- County Jail confinement for a period of one (1) year.
10. County Jail confinement for a 60-day period.
11. Probation (individual must report to court weekly for Progress
Check and must not, during the probation period, be involved
in any type of illegal activity. He/she must also maintain a
steady job and must be in good standing in the community
throughout the probationary period, which shall be of three
(3) calendar years).
12. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for two (2)
years.
13. Probation (with above constraints and conditions) for one (1)
year.
**Maximum sentence afforded by current Florida law.
73


45
It may simply indicate that the respondents in the present study viewed
the offenders achievements as a more substantial variable for making
the type of evaluations they were required to make. It Is possible that
if a different type of decision had been required or if the crime in
volved had been different (e.g., a crime involving physical injury to
another), SES might have proved to be more significant than achievement.
The prepotency of achievement over SES may be attributable to the
effects of ascribed vs. achieved status. Linton (1936) distinguished
between the two on the basis of expenditure of efforts in attaining
each type. Socio-economic status, as used in the present study, is an
ascribed characteristicthat is, it was not earned by the stimulus per
sons, but inherited from parents. Academic achievement, on the other
hand, was a purely achieved characteristic in that the stimulus persons'
own personal efforts led to their attaining their achievement scores
(grade-point averages).
Given the type of decision subjects had to make, it seems logical
that ascribed characteristics would be taken as less of a foundation for
generalizing about the offenders' overall character than offenders' achieve
ments. In the case of criminal eraluations, one of the variables with
which evaluators should be most concerned is the extent to which the of
fender appears to be able to steer away from criminal activities. The
assumption that one can meet this challenge may hinge predominantly on
one's record of abilities and achievement. These indices of past beha
vior my be used by evaluators as predictors of future behavior. High
academic achievement, it appears, is perceived as more of an index of one's
future behaviors than is one's SES. While it nay be argued that one's
SES plays a role in one's achievements, it may also be argued that SES
does not predestine one's achievements, nor does it determine behavior.


51
less severe punishment than their low achieving counterparts, even
though the crime was one evaluators believed they (high achievers) had
actually committed. While character or perceived character of a de
fendant can be expected to play a role in jurors' and judges' evalua
tions of persons who are accused of crimes, it seems that once one is
actually classified as an offender, the role of prerogatives would
diminish, and the quest would become one of distributing justice. If
justice is in fact blind, one's achievements should not affect one's
punishment once guilt is established.
There are enough examples outside the laboratory to tell us that
prerogatives are given on the basis of status or perceived status.
High status persons convicted of crimes are rarely sentenced to state
prisons. Attorneys have long known that a client who presents a posi
tive image to jurors has a better chance of being found not guilty, or,
if found guilty, being sentenced less severely than a client who presents
a negative image. Perhaps one of the reasons such care is taken in
choosing a jury is that attorneys know it is important to determine what
kind of characteristics the jurors will perceive as most positive or
most negative. It is perhaps better and easier at times to have a jury
tha:t conforms to the defendant than to have to make the defendant con
form to the jury. Depending on the type of characteristics the members
of the jury value, it may be impossible for some defendants to conform
to meet those values. For example, it is difficult to change one's
ethnic group, sex, etc.
The fact that variables other than those related to the crime can
influence jury dispositions may be dissettling to some, common knowledge
to others, and confirmation of a suspicion to still others. It is