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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Date Range
2011 2018


Psychology of justice research has demonstrated that individuals are concerned with both the process and the outcomes of a decision-making event. While the literature has demonstrated the importance of formal and informal aspects of procedural justice and the relevancy of moral values, the present study focuses on introducing a new form of justice: Substantive justice. Substantive justice focuses on how the legal system uses laws to constrain and direct human behavior, specifically focusing on the function and the structure of a law. The psychology of justice literature is missing the vital distinction between laws whose function is to create social …

Contributors
Lovis-Mcmahon, David, Schweitzer, Nicholas J., Saks, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2011

Very little experimental work has been done to investigate the psychological underpinnings of perceptions of privacy. This issue is especially pressing with the advent of powerful and inexpensive technologies that allow access to all but our most private thoughts -and these too are at risk (Farah, Smith, Gawuga, Lindsell, &Foster;, 2009). Recently the Supreme Court ruled that the use of a global positioning system (GPS) device to covertly follow a criminal suspect, without first obtaining a search warrant, is a violation of a suspect's fourth amendment right to protection from unlawful search and seizure (United States v. Jones, 2012). However, …

Contributors
Baker, Denise A., Schweitzer, Nicholas J, Newman, Matt, et al.
Created Date
2012

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) evidence has been shown to have a strong effect on juror decision-making when presented in court. While DNA evidence has been shown to be extremely reliable, fingerprint evidence, and the way it is presented in court, has come under much scrutiny. Forensic fingerprint experts have been working on a uniformed way to present fingerprint evidence in court. The most promising has been the Probabilistic Based Fingerprint Evidence (PBFE) created by Forensic Science Services (FSS) (G. Langenburg, personal communication, April 16, 2011). The current study examined how the presence and strength of DNA evidence influenced jurors' interpretation of …

Contributors
Arthurs, Shavonne, Mcquiston, Dawn, Hall, Deborah, et al.
Created Date
2012

Life History Theory suggests that, in order to maximize reproductive fitness, individuals make trade-offs between allocating resources to mating and parenting. These trade-offs are influenced by an individual's sex, life history strategy, and environment. Here, I explored the usefulness of a Life History Theory framework for understanding endorsement of child support laws. This study experimentally manipulated sex ratio, and gathered information about participants' endorsement of child support, sexual restrictedness, and mate value. As predicted, women endorsed child support more than men, whereas men favored greater restriction of child support in the form of required paternity testing. However, in general, results …

Contributors
Williams, Keelah Elizabeth Grace, Neuberg, Steven L, Saks, Michael, et al.
Created Date
2013

Courthouse dogs (sometimes referred to as facility animals) are expertly trained canines which may be used to assist individuals with psychological, emotional, or physical difficulties in a myriad of courtroom situations. While these animals are increasingly used to assist young witness to court, the jury is still out on whether or not they are prejudicial to the defendant. No known research exists in this area, although research is necessary to determine the possibly prejudicial nature of these animals. Using a mock trial paradigm involving a child sexual abuse case, the current study employed a 2 (Witness type: victim vs. bystander) …

Contributors
Burd, Kayla, Mcquiston, Dawn E, Salerno, Jessica M, et al.
Created Date
2013

A sample of 193 participants viewed one of six variations of an eyewitness giving mock testimony. Each participant viewed testimony, which varied by level of emotion (none, moderate, or high) and frame (waist-up or head only). Participants then rated the witness using the Brodsky Witness Credibility Scale and the Reyson Likability Scale. A set of ANOVA's was performed revealing an effect of emotion level on both credibility and likability. Emotion level was found to influence participant judgments of poise, however, to a lesser degree than judgments of credibility and likability. These results suggest that attorneys may want to avoid the …

Contributors
Havener, Shannon, Schweitzer, Nicholas, Salerno, Jessica, et al.
Created Date
2014

Protectors who do harm are often punished more severely because their crime is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Two experiments test whether this will generalize to protectors who incur harm while serving in their protective role, and if not, whether collective guilt for the harm they suffered provides an explanation. Study 1 tested competing hypotheses that a veteran (versus civilian) with PTSD would be punished either more harshly because of the trust betrayal, or more leniently because of increased guilt about the harm the veteran suffered during war. Men and women were both more lenient toward a veteran (versus …

Contributors
Jay, Alexander C., Salerno, Jessica M, Schweitzer, Nicholas, et al.
Created Date
2015

This exploratory qualitative study is the first to examine secondary trauma experiences among capital trial defense practitioners, including attorneys, mitigation specialists, paralegals, and investigators, who work as a team in representing indigent clients facing a charge of capital murder which may result in the death penalty. Death penalty jurisprudence has been critically examined in numerous ways, and the negative psychological effects on those who are involved in the process is one of the issues that limited studies have documented. However, no systemic investigation of secondary trauma associated with capital trial defense practice for indigent clients has been conducted to date, …

Contributors
Tavassoli, Kyoko Yoshida, Holley, Lynn C, Maceachron, Ann E, et al.
Created Date
2016

There is conflicting evidence regarding whether a biasing effect of neuroscientific evidence exists. Early research warned of such bias, but more recent papers dispute such claims, with some suggesting a bias only occurs in situations of relative judgment, but not in situations of absolute judgment. The current studies examined the neuroimage bias within both criminal and civil court case contexts, specifically exploring if a bias is dependent on the context in which the neuroimage evidence is presented (i.e. a single expert vs. opposing experts). In the first experiment 408 participants read a criminal court case summary in which either one …

Contributors
Hafdahl, Riquel J., Schweitzer, Nicholas, Salerno, Jessica, et al.
Created Date
2016

In recent years, the use of biologically based (neurological, neuropsychological, genetic) evidence in criminal trials as support for claims of mental impairments among offenders has increased in popularity. However, research on how exposure to those arguments affects jury decision-making remains unclear. Specifically, arguments rooted in biology sometimes mitigate and sometimes aggravate judgments of criminal responsibility for mentally ill offenders, and this discrepancy seems to stem from the specific conditions by which that disorder was acquired. The following study’s aim was to uncover the precise mechanism(s) behind this elusive effect. Utilizing a 2x2 between subjects experimental design, participants were presented with …

Contributors
Hunter, Shelby, Schweitzer, Nick, Neal, Tess, et al.
Created Date
2017

Why do social perceivers use race to infer a target's propensity for criminal behavior and likelihood of re-offense? Life history theory proposes that the harshness and unpredictability of one's environment shapes individuals' behavior, with harsh and unpredictable ("desperate") ecologies inducing "fast" life history strategies (characterized by present-focused behaviors), and resource-sufficient and stable ("hopeful") ecologies inducing "slow" life history strategies (characterized by future-focused behaviors). Social perceivers have an implicit understanding of the ways in which ecology shapes behavior, and use cues to ecology to infer a target's likely life history strategy. Additionally, because race is confounded with ecology in the United …

Contributors
Williams, Keelah Elizabeth Grace, Neuberg, Steven L, Saks, Michael J, et al.
Created Date
2017

A substantial amount of research has been dedicated to understanding how and why innocent people confess to crimes that they did not commit. Unfortunately, false confessions occur even with the best possible interrogation practices. This study aimed to examine how different types of false confession (voluntary, compliance, and internalization) and the use of jury instructions specific to confessions influences jurors’ verdicts. A sample of 414 participants read a criminal trial case summary that presented one of four reasons why the defendant falsely confessed followed by either the standard jury instruction for confessions or a clarified version. Afterwards, participants completed several …

Contributors
Pollack, Andrew Christian, Schweitzer, Nicholas, Salerno, Jessica, et al.
Created Date
2017

Research has consistently shown that gay/lesbian/bisexual (GLB) or sexual minority youth are at an increased risk for adverse outcomes resulting from the stress caused by continual exposure to negative events (e.g., victimization, discrimination). The present study used a nationally representative sample of adolescents to test mechanisms that may be responsible for the differences in offending behaviors among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents. Specifically, this study tested whether bisexual adolescents received less maternal support than did heterosexual adolescents because of their sexual orientation, thus increasing the likelihood that they run away from home. This study then examined whether the greater likelihood …

Contributors
Mansion, Andre D., Chassin, Laurie, Barrera, Manuel, et al.
Created Date
2018

The legal system relies heavily on the contribution of forensic psychologists. These psychologists give opinions on a defendant’s ability to stand trial, their legal sanity at the time of the crime, their future dangerousness, and their competency to be executed. However, we know little about what extrinsic factors bias these experts. I assessed the influence of gruesome photographs on forensic psychologists’ evaluations of competency and legal sanity. Previous research has demonstrated that these photographs influence lay judgments of guilt. I predicted that gruesome color photographs (versus the same photographs in black-and-white or a textual description of the photographs) would influence …

Contributors
Phalen, Hannah, Salerno, Jessica M, Saks, Michael J, et al.
Created Date
2018

This experiment uses the Community of Knowledge framework to better understand how jurors interpret new information (Sloman & Rabb, 2016). Participants learned of an ostensibly new scientific finding that was claimed to either be well-understood or not understood by experts. Despite including no additional information, expert understanding led participants to believe that they personally understood the phenomenon, with expert understanding acting as a cue for trustworthiness and believability. This effect was particularly pronounced with low-quality sources. These results are discussed in the context of how information is used by jurors in court, and the implications of the “Community of Knowledge” …

Contributors
Jones, Ashley C. T., Schweitzer, Nicholas J., Neal, Tess M.S., et al.
Created Date
2018