How type of excuse defense, mock juror age, and defendant age affect mock jurors' decisions

Pamela L. Higgins, Wendy P. Heath, Bruce D. Grannemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The authors investigated the effects of mock juror age (younger vs. older), defendant age (22 vs. 65), and type of excuse defense used by defendants (a highly self-inflicted condition, Cocaine Dependency Disorder, vs. a less self-inflicted condition, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) on mock juror decisions. Ninety-six younger and 96 older adults read a scenario and answered a questionnaire. Results indicated that the defendant using the highly self-inflicted excuse was more likely to receive a guilty verdict and a longer sentence than was the defendant using the less self-inflicted excuse. Older jurors were more certain of their verdicts and saw the defendant as more responsible for his condition than did younger jurors. Defendant age did not affect juror decisions. In addition, excuse type and juror age affected the jurors' perceptions of the victim's responsibility for the attack. The authors discuss the potential influence of juror age on perceptions of defendant responsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-392
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Defendant age
  • Excuse defenses
  • Mock juror age
  • Psychology and law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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