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YPIE Scientist: Justine

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

Research: Investigating Gender Bias in Jury IPH Convictions

Awards: Somers Science Fair 2022 Participant


It has been reported that males tend to receive higher sentences and conviction rates than women who have committed similar crimes. This research breaks down gender bias in jury convictions by specific cases of intimate partner homicide (IPH). Oftentimes male defendants convicted of IPH will receive harsher sentences compared to female defendants. Bias in court is a significant issue because it affects the fairness and outcome of the trial. This research may impact how jurors should be selected for certain types of cases. My intended methods are to create two surveys dictating the same fake case of intimate partner violence. One survey would have a male defendant and the other a female defendant, the participants will then choose a verdict for the defendant. The verdicts will be on a scale from less harsh to increasingly harsher. The participants will then answer a series of questions on the ambivalent sexism inventory (ASI), a scale created by Glick and Fiske (1996, 1999). This ASI score breaks down into two categories, hostile sexism (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS). It is expected to find that men and women with high BS scores will be more likely to perceive male defendants as guilty and that men with high HS scores will perceive female defendants as guilty. It was found in “the Moderating effect of ambivalent sexism in a Mock case of Intimate Partner Homicide” (Cutroni, Anderson, 2020) that female and male mock jurors were more likely to perceive the male defendant as eligible for the death penalty. It was also found that females with low HS scores were more likely to perceive the female defendant as to have acted in self-defense. However, males with higher HS scores were less likely to impose harsh sentences of male defendants. This is similar to my research of investigating gender bias in court IPH convictions. It is expected to see evidence that gender bias does have effects on trial outcomes and that higher BS scores result in lower sentences for women.

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