Witness Appeal - Castellow
Castellow - The only thing that should influence a verdict is the trial evidence, however there are certain psychological factors that do influence a verdict. Such as attractiveness/unattractiveness of the defendant. Physically attractive people are assumed to have other attractive qualities. This is known as the 'Halo effect'. Good looking criminals received lighter sentences or crimes they used their looks e.g fraud
Aim: Investigate whether a person's attrativeness influences a jury's verdict.
Method & Procedure: Lab experiment;145 participants;presented a fictional sexual harrasment trial.
Group 1 = Unattractive defendant + Attractive victim ; Group 2 - Attractive defendant + unattractive victim ; Group 3 = Unattractive victim + Defendant ; Group 4 = Attractive Victim + Defendant
Results: Unattractive defendants had a higher % (76%) of GV whereas % of GV was lower if defendant was attractive % (56%). If both defendant and victim were attractive the effect would cancel each other out.
Conclusion: Despite findings coming from a mock trial, results can be applied to a real-life setting. Appearance does have a powerful effect on a jury's decision. Which is why a defendant is advised to turn up to court looking smartly dressed.