Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studies: Moral outrage may influence jurors

Date:
December 3, 2013
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
Two new studies point to important legal implications when moral outrage is generated through the interactive effect of anger and disgust. Research points to the need for judges to carefully consider the admissibility of evidence likely to elicit moral outrage in jurors in a world where phone and security cameras increasingly catch horrible crimes on camera and therefore may be entered as evidence.

Think about the last time you were morally outraged. Chances are you felt angry, but did you also feel disgust? Consider how you might feel in a court of law after watching a video of a heinous crime.

Related Articles


Two new studies point to important legal implications when moral outrage is generated through the interactive effect of anger and disgust. Research points to the need for judges to carefully consider the admissibility of evidence likely to elicit moral outrage in jurors in a world where phone and security cameras increasingly catch horrible crimes on camera and therefore may be entered as evidence.

"Camera phones are everywhere. There are so many more opportunities for crimes to be captured on video, which means jurors are being exposed to really emotionally charged evidence," said Jessica M. Salerno, assistant professor in ASU's New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. "When judges weigh the informational value versus the prejudicial value of the evidence, it is important to be very mindful that the negative emotions roused by emotionally disturbing evidence can make jurors more likely to vote guilty."

Salerno and Liana C. Peter-Hagene of the University of Illinois at Chicago recently published an article in the Psychological Science journal, "The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments," that outlines the studies that were designed to measure the effects of anger and disgust on moral outrage and probable implications in courts of law.

"After reading about jurors' dramatic reactions to emotionally disturbing evidence in court, we wanted to test how emotional stimuli might affect the jurors' judgment in court," Salerno said.

During the first study, participants were asked to read one of two vignettes, one of which dealt with sexual assault and the other that detailed Westboro Baptist Church funeral picketing. Participants reported measures of how disgusted and angry they felt on a scale of one to five.

Results showed that anger was a predictor of moral outrage when it occurred with at least a moderately high level of disgust and disgust predicted moral outrage when it occurred with at least a moderately high level of anger.

"It's the combination of the two that produces moral outrage," Salerno said.

In the second study, researchers hypothesized that the combination of anger and disgust would increase moral outrage and in turn influence confidence in a guilty verdict.

"There is no previous research, to our knowledge, that has tested whether moral outrage mediates the effect of disgust on subsequent judgments," she said. "Humans intuitively understand what moral outrage is. However, researchers debate its emotional components. We wanted to investigate the relationships between anger and disgust since emotions tend to co-occur with each other."

Study participants were shown a 20-minute presentation of evidence adapted from an actual murder case. Results showed that anger was a stronger predictor of moral outrage as disgust increased and disgust significantly predicted moral outrage at all levels of anger. Anger and disgust increased confidence in a guilty verdict through moral outrage, but disgust predicted moral outrage more consistently.

"Moral outrage affects confidence in a guilty verdict. All participants saw the same evidence, but those who experienced the combination of anger and disgust were more confident in a guilty verdict because they were more morally outraged about the crime," Salerno said. "This may not be in jurors control and they may not be aware that their emotions are influencing their decisions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. M. Salerno, L. C. Peter-Hagene. The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments. Psychological Science, 2013; 24 (10): 2069 DOI: 10.1177/0956797613486988

Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Studies: Moral outrage may influence jurors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203141808.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2013, December 3). Studies: Moral outrage may influence jurors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203141808.htm
Arizona State University. "Studies: Moral outrage may influence jurors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131203141808.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins