Reaching a verdict - witness appeal

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Castellow - attractivenss of the defendant

  • test the effect of the attractiveness of a defendant on guilty verdicts
  • 71 male and 74 female students from East Carolina Uni
  • lab experiment
  • details of a sexual harrassment case
  • photographs of defendant and victim were attached which had been previously catergorised as attractive/unattractive by a panel on a scale of 1 - 9.
  • key question analysed: do you think Mr Radford is guilty of sexual harassment?
  • towards end of study, participants aked to rate the defendant and victim pictures on 11 bipolar scales such as dull - exciting, nervous - calm, warm - cold.
  • combination of attractive victim and unattractive denfendant created the highest % of guilty verdicts
  • lowest % of guilty verdicts when defendant was attractive and victim unattractive
  • both male and female participants rated the physically attractive denfendants positively on the additional bipolar scales showing the halo effect
  • no significant difference found between genders of the mock jurors, both genders were equally affected by physical appearance

Penrod and Cutler


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