Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 2-28-2011


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychology,
Under the Supervision of Professor Richard L. Wiener
Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Megan Beringer Jones


Research examining juror perceptions of juveniles tried as adults has provided mixed results, with some studies providing evidence of bias against juveniles tried as adults, and others finding no evidence of this bias. The present research aimed to clarify this issue by examining the roles of generic prejudice and emotion in jurors’ judgments of juveniles tried as adults. Study 1 assessed which stereotypes people associate with juveniles tried as adults compared to juveniles tried in juvenile court and adults tried in criminal court. Study 2 examined to what extent angry, fearful, sad, and neutral mock jurors used these stereotypes to make judgments of guilt when presented with a juvenile tried as an adult, or an adult charged with the same crime. Results of Study 1 showed that men endorsed some stereotypes to a greater extent for the juvenile tried as an adult compared to the other defendants, while women did not. In Study 2, mock jurors judged the adult defendant more harshly than they did the juvenile defendant, but only when they experienced anger and sadness, and in some cases fear. Implications of these results and possible future studies are discussed.