Hypothetical Sentencing Decisions Are Associated With Actual Capital Punishment Outcomes: The Role of Facial Trustworthiness

John Paul Wilson, Nicholas O. Rule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent research has highlighted a relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from faces and capital sentencing outcomes. Here, we extended those findings by replicating the relationship between trustworthiness and the death penalty among a new sample of targets convicted of capital murder in Arkansas and by demonstrating that facial trustworthiness guides naive sentencing decisions. First, trustworthiness differentiated convicted murderers sentenced to life from those sentenced to death using a novel stimulus population. Next, we found experimental evidence that people used inferences of trustworthiness from faces when making hypothetical capital sentencing judgments for noncriminal targets presented as murderers. Finally, naive participants viewing photographs of actual convicted criminals without any additional information allocated hypothetical sentences that matched those that were actually received in court. Facial trustworthiness, but not other inferences (i.e., Afrocentricity, attractiveness, and maturity), accounted for this relationship. These data therefore suggest that perceptions of trustworthiness guide individuals’ decisions about legal punishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Fingerprint

Capital Punishment
Punishment
Homicide
Research
Population

Keywords

  • face perception
  • judgment
  • legal processes
  • trustworthiness

Cite this

@article{4bf3cb9df0ac44f5bfcf2401442ac455,
title = "Hypothetical Sentencing Decisions Are Associated With Actual Capital Punishment Outcomes: The Role of Facial Trustworthiness",
abstract = "Recent research has highlighted a relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from faces and capital sentencing outcomes. Here, we extended those findings by replicating the relationship between trustworthiness and the death penalty among a new sample of targets convicted of capital murder in Arkansas and by demonstrating that facial trustworthiness guides naive sentencing decisions. First, trustworthiness differentiated convicted murderers sentenced to life from those sentenced to death using a novel stimulus population. Next, we found experimental evidence that people used inferences of trustworthiness from faces when making hypothetical capital sentencing judgments for noncriminal targets presented as murderers. Finally, naive participants viewing photographs of actual convicted criminals without any additional information allocated hypothetical sentences that matched those that were actually received in court. Facial trustworthiness, but not other inferences (i.e., Afrocentricity, attractiveness, and maturity), accounted for this relationship. These data therefore suggest that perceptions of trustworthiness guide individuals’ decisions about legal punishment.",
keywords = "face perception, judgment, legal processes, trustworthiness",
author = "Wilson, {John Paul} and Rule, {Nicholas O.}",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1948550615624142",
language = "English",
volume = "7",
pages = "331--338",
journal = "Social Psychological and Personality Science",
issn = "1948-5506",
publisher = "Sage Periodicals Press",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Hypothetical Sentencing Decisions Are Associated With Actual Capital Punishment Outcomes

T2 - The Role of Facial Trustworthiness

AU - Wilson, John Paul

AU - Rule, Nicholas O.

PY - 2016/1/1

Y1 - 2016/1/1

N2 - Recent research has highlighted a relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from faces and capital sentencing outcomes. Here, we extended those findings by replicating the relationship between trustworthiness and the death penalty among a new sample of targets convicted of capital murder in Arkansas and by demonstrating that facial trustworthiness guides naive sentencing decisions. First, trustworthiness differentiated convicted murderers sentenced to life from those sentenced to death using a novel stimulus population. Next, we found experimental evidence that people used inferences of trustworthiness from faces when making hypothetical capital sentencing judgments for noncriminal targets presented as murderers. Finally, naive participants viewing photographs of actual convicted criminals without any additional information allocated hypothetical sentences that matched those that were actually received in court. Facial trustworthiness, but not other inferences (i.e., Afrocentricity, attractiveness, and maturity), accounted for this relationship. These data therefore suggest that perceptions of trustworthiness guide individuals’ decisions about legal punishment.

AB - Recent research has highlighted a relationship between perceptions of trustworthiness from faces and capital sentencing outcomes. Here, we extended those findings by replicating the relationship between trustworthiness and the death penalty among a new sample of targets convicted of capital murder in Arkansas and by demonstrating that facial trustworthiness guides naive sentencing decisions. First, trustworthiness differentiated convicted murderers sentenced to life from those sentenced to death using a novel stimulus population. Next, we found experimental evidence that people used inferences of trustworthiness from faces when making hypothetical capital sentencing judgments for noncriminal targets presented as murderers. Finally, naive participants viewing photographs of actual convicted criminals without any additional information allocated hypothetical sentences that matched those that were actually received in court. Facial trustworthiness, but not other inferences (i.e., Afrocentricity, attractiveness, and maturity), accounted for this relationship. These data therefore suggest that perceptions of trustworthiness guide individuals’ decisions about legal punishment.

KW - face perception

KW - judgment

KW - legal processes

KW - trustworthiness

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84962712725&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1948550615624142

DO - 10.1177/1948550615624142

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84962712725

VL - 7

SP - 331

EP - 338

JO - Social Psychological and Personality Science

JF - Social Psychological and Personality Science

SN - 1948-5506

IS - 4

ER -