Sex Roles

, Volume 9, Issue 8, pp 879–889 | Cite as

Effects of sex of defense attorney, sex of juror, and age and attractiveness of the victim on mock juror decision making in a rape case

  • Nora K. Villemur
  • Janet Shibley Hyde


In an experimental study, mock jurors heard a 50-minute audiotape of a rape trial and saw pictures of the victim and defendant. The factors in the design were sex of the defense attorney, age of the victim (early 20s or 60s), attractiveness of the victim, and sex of the juror. The most striking finding was a higher acquittal rate under the female defense attorney condition (71%) than under the male defense attorney condition (49%). This may be an instance of the recently described “talking platypus” phenomenon. Main effects for juror's sex, age of the victim, and attractiveness of the victim were not significant, but these factors showed complex interactions. Internal-external scores did not predict decisions. The most frequent reasons given for acquittals were reasonable doubt and the victim's not resisting.


Experimental Study Social Psychology Complex Interaction Striking Finding Reasonable Doubt 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nora K. Villemur
    • 1
  • Janet Shibley Hyde
    • 1
  1. 1.Bowling Green State UniversityUSA

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