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Wilson, K. R., Marshall, E. W., Groscup, J. L., & Brank, E. M. (2020). The Impact of Social Support and the Number of Searchers on Perceptions of Consent Searches. Poster session presented at Annual Convention of the American Psychology-Law Society, New Orleans, LA.


Copyright 2020 by the authors.


Consent searches require voluntariness of consent for validity under the 4th Amendment. Social situational factors may affect perceptions of voluntariness, but their importance is minimized in court decisions about searches. Participants (N = 328) rated perceptions of a consent request in a consent search situation in which social power dynamics (i.e., number of searchers and the amount of social support) were manipulated. Social support affected perceptions of pressure to say yes to the search. Significant differences in perceptions between the third-person and first-person perspective were observed, indicating that judges may overestimate consent voluntariness. There was also a significant three-way interaction between gender of the participant, number of searchers, amount of social support and how they influence first-person perceptions of coerciveness of a search request.