Generic prejudice in The law: Sexual assault and homicide

Richard L. Wiener, Lucy Arnot, Ryan Winter, Brian Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This article distinguishes generic prejudice, prejudgments about classes of cases and defendants, from other forms of juror bias that undermine the impartiality principle of the Constitution. It develops an experimental method to study 2 types of generic prejudice (biases based upon specific charges, and biases based upon crime categories) and tests the role of cognitive resource theory and simple attention models in explaining when generic prejudice is most likely to be a threat to jury decisions. Results of 2 experiments using undergraduate research participants as mock jurors demonstrate that generic prejudice is more likely to be found in sexual assault cases relative to homicide cases, but that general adjudicative bias favoring the prosecution or the defense across crime categories is more likely to be found in homicide cases. There was some support for cognitive resource theory as an explanation for evaluations in sexual assault cases, and simple attention models for evaluations in homicide cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-155
Number of pages11
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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