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Title:Battered woman syndrome: Juror common understanding and expert testimony
Author(s):Mechanic, Mindy Beth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Aber, Mark S.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Psychology, Social
Social Work
Women's Studies
Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:The purpose of the present research was to address two broad questions related to the use of expert testimony in battered women's homicide cases. First, what do laypersons know about battering, and in what ways is that knowledge tied to conceptually similar attitudinal constructs, such as sex roles, adversarial beliefs about women, and support for the use of violence against women? Second, what is the impact of expert testimony on juror decision-making in a simulated battered woman's homicide case? Do prior knowledge of domestic violence and beliefs about the acceptability of woman-battering affect receptivity to expert testimony or influence the decision-making process?
Results from the first study provide preliminary psychometric support for the development of a measure to assess lay knowledge of battering. Using the known groups method, initial evidence of validity was demonstrated. The measure was found to have adequate reliability. Evidence of discriminant validity was obtained by showing the measure to be only marginally associated with related attitudinal and sex role constructs. Substantive findings suggest that while there is a subset of information about battering that is common knowledge, and an equally small domain of misinformation, there is inconsistency in knowledge about the majority of information.
Results from study two emphasize the limited impact of expert testimony on juror decision-making in a battered women's homicide case. Long standing individual difference factors were influential in shaping the decision-making process, and the verdicts rendered. In addition, findings underscore confusion between constructs related to excuse vs. justification in battered women's homicide cases.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Mechanic, Mindy Beth
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702608
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702608

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