Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes

5 Pages Posted: 10 May 2006  

Sheri Lynn Johnson

Cornell Law School

Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Stanford University

Paul G. Davies

University of California, Los Angeles - Department of Psychology

Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns

Yale University - Department of Psychology

Abstract

Researchers previously have investigated the role of race in capital sentencing, and in particular, whether the race of the defendant or victim influences the likelihood of a death sentence. In the present study, we examined whether the likelihood of being sentenced to death is influenced by the degree to which a Black defendant is perceived to have a stereotypically Black appearance. Controlling for a wide array of factors, we found that in cases involving a White victim, the more stereotypically Black a defendant is perceived to be, the more likely that person is to be sentenced to death.

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Sheri Lynn and Eberhardt, Jennifer L. and Davies, Paul G. and Purdie-Vaughns, Valerie J., Looking Deathworthy: Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes. Psychological Science, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 383-386, May 2006; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=901453

Sheri Lynn Johnson (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-6478 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Paul G. Davies

University of California, Los Angeles - Department of Psychology ( email )

1285 Franz Hall
Box 951563
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563
United States

Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns

Yale University - Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
465
Rank
48,796
Abstract Views
4,475