Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Clinical Psychology

Colleges & School

College Of Arts And Sciences

First Advisor

Brad Grunert, PhD

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Jurors--United States--Decision making; Sex (Psychology)


Civil commitment trials for sex offenders allow expert testimony to use diagnostic labels that can invoke a certain mental heuristic that influences decisions of the jurors. Using the Cognitive Experiential Self-Theory (CEST), the present study examined the effects of a mental prototype vs. the case statistics (pedophile vs. statutory rape) on juror information processing (rational vs. experiential). One hundred and fifty-six undergraduate students participated. Participants were given a vignette with clinical based expert testimony, information regarding the case, and charges against the defendant and asked to judge whether or not to civilly commit the individual. Using a 2 x 2 factorial design, a one-way ANOVA was used for analysis. It was predicted that mock jurors given the label pedophile and instructed to process rationally, where the judgment might conflict with the desired processing mode, would hold onto their mental prototype of the label pedophile and would be more confident in their decision to civilly commit the defendant. The results were non-significant. The mode of processing and the use of labeling within expert testimony is something important to consider for court room preparation.


On-Campus Access

OCLC Number