Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts - Psychology



First Advisor

Steven Estrada

Second Advisor

Scott Drury

Third Advisor

Scott Hutchens

Fourth Advisor

George Day


Victim impact statements (VIS) are federally protected statements describing the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a crime on a victim. States can decide the content and timing of the VIS, resulting in much variation. Previous research has found an effect of these variations on mock juror bias in capital trials. The current study examined if variations such as changing the strength of emotion, crime type, and including sentencing recommendation within a VIS affects the judgements of mock jurors. The results showed the sexual assault VIS produced higher guilt ratings and longer sentences. Furthermore, the inclusion of a high sentencing recommendation produced longer sentences. Additionally, guilt ratings were increased by the interaction of emotionality and anchor within the VIS. The results of this study suggest that variations in the implementation and presentation of VIS across states may be impacting the fairness of criminal trials and the rights of defendants.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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