The Mixed Effects of Neurological Information and Brain Images on Perceptions of Psychopathic Wrongdoers Público

Marshall, Julia (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/hh63sw60c?locale=es
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Abstract

Although lawyers have increasing utilized neuroscience in the courtroom, relatively little is known about how people differentially evaluate equally valid neurological and psychological justifications of criminal behavior in a legal context. Previous studies have either exclusively examined how brain images affect ratings of a claim's scientific credibility or how mere neurological explanations alter such judgments. Relatedly, others have tested how brain-based information may influence judgments of criminal responsibility, culpability, and blameworthiness. These studies, however, have not tested how mock juror's individual differences in certain core philosophical beliefs may influence how people differentially assess neurological information in a courtroom setting. To fill this gap in the literature, the current study sought to examine how individual differences in mind-body dualism may affect how mock jurors evaluate a criminal's deserved punishment, treatability, dangerousness, and self-control when presented with informationally matched neurological or psychological research corroborating the psychopath's personality disorder. Across 761 participants, I found little evidence of a universal neuroscience bias. However, when taking into account self-reported dualism beliefs, minor differences in punishment tendencies emerged amongst highly dualist individuals. These results demonstrated that neuroscience likely does not possess the power to broadly transform all mock jurors' intuitions about deserved punishment, but the findings did lend credence to the idea that brain-based information may be disproportionality biasing people who already hold certain fundamental philosophical beliefs about the mind.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction _____________________________________________________________ 2

1.1. The Present Use of Neuroscience in the Courtroom and the Media________________________2

1.2. Overarching Methodological Issues of fMRI__________________________________________7

1.3. Philosophical and Legal Issues with Incorporating Neuroscience in the Courtroom___________ 8

1.4. The Empirical Neuroseduction Debate______________________________________________10

1.5. The Present Study_____________________________________________________________18

1.6. Predictions___________________________________________________________________19

2. Method _________________________________________________________________ 21

2.1. Participants__________________________________________________________________21

2.2. Procedures__________________________________________________________________ 23

2.3. Materials ____________________________________________________________________ 23

2.3.1. Background Story___________________________________________________________ 24

2.3.2. Transcript_________________________________________________________________ 24

2.3.3. Comprehension Questions____________________________________________________ 26

2.3.4. Sentencing and Reasoning Questions ____________________________________________ 27

2.3.5. Individual Difference Measures _________________________________________________ 28

3. Results __________________________________________________________________ 28

3.1. Inclusion and Data Preparation _________________________________________________ 29

3.2. Factor Analysis_____________________________________________________________ 29

3.3. MANOVAs __________________________________________________________________ 32

3.3.1. Reasoning Questions_______________________________________________________ 32

3.3.2. Treatability_______________________________________________________________ 33

3.3.3. Dangerousness____________________________________________________________ 33

3.3.4. Self-Control______________________________________________________________ 33

3.3.5. Punishment Efficacy________________________________________________________ 34

3.3.5. Sentencing_______________________________________________________________ 35

3.4. Mind-Body Dualism__________________________________________________________ 36

3.4.1. Reasoning Questions _______________________________________________________36

3.4.2. Sentencing _______________________________________________________________36

3.5. Summary of Findings ________________________________________________________38

4. Discussion _______________________________________________________________ 39

4.1. Limitations ________________________________________________________________ 46

4.2. Future Directions ___________________________________________________________ 47

References _________________________________________________________________ 51

Footnotes __________________________________________________________________ 56

Tables and Figures __________________________________________________________ 57

Table 1 ______________________________________________________________ 57

Table 2 ______________________________________________________________ 58

Table 3 ______________________________________________________________ 59

Table 4 ______________________________________________________________ 59

Table 5 ______________________________________________________________ 60

Table 6 ______________________________________________________________ 61

Figure 1 _____________________________________________________________ 62

Figure 2 _____________________________________________________________ 62

Figure 3 _____________________________________________________________ 63

Figure 4 _____________________________________________________________ 64

Figure 5 _____________________________________________________________ 65

Appendix __________________________________________________________________ 66

A.1. Pre-trial Materials _____________________________________________________ 66

A.2. Neurological Explanation_______________________________________________ 67

A.3. Psychological Explanation _______________________________________________ 69

A.4. Neurological Image ____________________________________________________ 71

A.5. Psychological Image ___________________________________________________ 72

A.6. Neurological Condition Comprehension Questions ____________________________ 72

A.7. Psychological Condition Comprehension Questions___________________________ 73

A.8. Sentencing Questions_________________________________________________ 73

A.9. Reasoning Questions__________________________________________________ 74

A.10. Demographic Information_____________________________________________ 75

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