The Influence of Gender and Age in Mock Juror Decision-Making


  • Annik Mossière
  • J. Thomas Dalby


This study examines the influence of demographic variables on mock juror decision-making in a case of psychopathy. The gender of a fictitious criminal defendant who was labeled a psychopath was manipulated in order to examine the potential prejudicial impact on mock juror’s decision-making. Additionally, juror demographics (gender, age, and education level) were used to identify the source of bias. Participants read a fictitious manslaughter scenario followed by a psychologist’s expert testimony. Participants were asked to make a decision regarding the guilt of the defendant, and if applicable, specify the sentence the guilty defendant should receive. Findings from previous research looking at gender bias were not replicated, however, results showed a significant interaction between juror age and verdict/sentencing type. The youngest age group recommended a guilty verdict and a sentence of probation more often than the older age groups. In contrast, the older age groups were more likely than the youngest age group to give a verdict of not guilty, and sentence of incarceration (when a guilty verdict was given). These results raise concerns regarding views of the justice system when a designation of psychopathy is involved, as well as differences in cognitive processing that occur across ages.