alexa Analyzing the Effect of Exposure to a First-person Narr
ISSN: 2475-319X

Journal of Forensic Psychology
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Research Article

Analyzing the Effect of Exposure to a First-person Narrative of a Death Row Inmate on the Support of Capital Punishment

 
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Abstract

This experiment tests whether the method of presentation of a story of a death row inmate affects the degree of support toward capital punishment in a sample of undergraduate students and staff. The independent variable was whether participants were presented with the story of a person on death row told from that person's point of view or same story about the inmate presented by his brother. Thus the intervention methods in the study included students introduced to first-person information and third-person information. The dependent variable was the degree of support toward the death penalty, measured both before and after exposure to the story. The sample consisted of 100 undergraduate students and staff from OLLU that were randomly assigned to the point of view of the story. It was hypothesized that the students exposed to first-person information (the inmate's story) would demonstrate more of a decrease of support toward capital punishment (CP) than those students exposed to third-person information (his brother's story) because the participants may feel more empathetic and be more likely to forgive the inmate after hearing the story from his point of view. Results were consistent with the hypothesis: participants exposed to the story from the inmate decreased in CP endorsement and those who were told the story from his brother slightly increased in CP endorsement. This finding may suggest that our belief system regarding CP can be influenced by the type of information presented to us.

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