Defendant Attractiveness and Jury Sentencing Research Paper

Defendant Attractiveness and Jury Sentencing
Presents original research that replicates a study to evaluate if attractive defendants get more lenience from juries during sentencing.
# 152076 | 1,245 words | 3 sources | APA | 2011 | US

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This paper reports original research that was designed to replicate part of another study by Landy and Aronson (1969) to determine if the attractiveness of defendants influences the length of the guilty defendant's jail term. Next, the author reviews the methodology used in the replication research, which includes a sample that was not random. The paper concludes that the study did yield results that indicate that the less attractive defendants were sentenced to longer terms; however, this difference was not significant and could have occurred by chance. A results table is included in the paper.

Table of Contents:

From the Paper:

"In the same study, a second experiment was performed that used different combinations of the variables to determine how attractive qualities may influence juror's decisions. The victim was portrayed in different scenarios as attractive or unattractive, and these descriptions were paired with three separate defendant descriptions: attractive, unattractive and neutral attractiveness The results of most of the pairings showed that the defendants were sentenced to longer jail terms if the victim was more attractive or the defendant was more unattractive, yet most of the differences were not statistically significant. One significant difference was found, however: when an attractive victim was paired with an unattractive defendant, the mean sentence was significantly longer than the other category pairings.
"Mazzella & Feingold conducted a meta-analysis to determine what personal characteristics a jury might take into account while judging and sentencing a defendant (1994). In the articles cited, the researchers manipulated variables to see if they had an effect on the level of severity of the sentence imposed by the jury. The study attempted to discover if attributes that were generally thought to influence a sentence both negatively and positively actually did."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Landy, D., & Aronson, E. (1969). The influence of the character of the criminal and his victim on the decisions of simulated jurors. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 5, 141-152.
  • Mazzella, R., & Feingold, A. (1994). The effects of physical attractiveness, race, socioeconomic status, and gender of defendants and victims on judgments of mock jurors; a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24(15), 1315-1344.
  • Weiten, W. (1980). The attraction-leniency effect in jury research: an examination of external validity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 10(4), 340-347.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Defendant Attractiveness and Jury Sentencing (2012, December 04) Retrieved September 27, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Defendant Attractiveness and Jury Sentencing" 04 December 2012. Web. 27 September. 2023. <>