Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate how the presence of a mental disorder in a person accused of a crime affects an individual’s perception of the accused person’s guilt. Participants were randomly assigned a vignette used in a study by Skeem & Goulding (2001), describing a crime that has been committed; one condition included the presence of an unnamed mental illness and the other condition did not. Immediately after reading the vignette participants completed a survey that included a question regarding the perceived guilt of the person accused of the crime. The answers to this question were compared between the two conditions. Analysis of the results showed no significance in the presence of a mental illness on the individual’s perception of guilt. The results in this study suggest that participants did not view mental illness as a significant mitigating factor.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Holli Drummond, Siera Bramschreiber, Dr. Rick Grieve

Disciplines

Criminology | Psychology

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