Neuroscience & Psychology Postgraduate Society Seminars

The Effects of personality on juror sentencing decisions: An analysis using the Five Factor Model

Jury research forms an important part of forensic psychology, and multiple studies involving aspects of jury behavior have been conducted over the past few decades. Previous research has demonstrated that juror attitudes are a stronger predictor of verdict than personality characteristics, and, since the 1970s, many jury studies have focused on this area, largely ignoring the effects of personality. Since this time, however, the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, which measures personality on five scales, has been developed and is now well-established. Based on this development, it is felt that further research on the effects of personality on juror behavior is warranted.The current study examined the effects of personality on juror sentencing decisions for five types of violent crime. Ninety-seven subjects participated in this study; after completing the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to measure FFM traits, they were asked to make sentencing recommendations in fictional criminal cases. In first-degree murder cases in which the aggravating circumstances were murder committed during the course of a robbery and the murder of a police officer, Openness to Experience scores significantly affected sentencing decisions, with high Openness participants returning the most severe sentencing recommendations. In the case of first-degree rape, participants high on Agreeableness and low on Neuroticism returned the least severe sentencing recommendations. As personality traits significantly affected sentencing recommendations in several cases, further research in the area of the effects of personality on juror decision-making is warranted. ** PLEASE NOTE**: This seminar will not be held in the usual seminar room but instead in the level 6 meeting room.