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 30, 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 30, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

States And White House Disagree On Ebola Quarantines

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Officials in New Jersey and Maine have quarantined Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox, a move the White House doesn't seem to support. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

New Wave of Online Delivery Gains Momentum

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) With start-ups like Postmates offering quick delivery of meals, groceries and other items through a smartphone app, the online world is delivering again. Duration: 01:39 Video provided by AFP
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