Document Detail


The double-edged sword: does biomechanism increase or decrease judges' sentencing of psychopaths?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22904010     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
We tested whether expert testimony concerning a biomechanism of psychopathy increases or decreases punishment. In a nationwide experiment, U.S. state trial judges (N = 181) read a hypothetical case (based on an actual case) where the convict was diagnosed with psychopathy. Evidence presented at sentencing in support of a biomechanical cause of the convict's psychopathy significantly reduced the extent to which psychopathy was rated as aggravating and significantly reduced sentencing (from 13.93 years to 12.83 years). Content analysis of judges' reasoning indicated that even though the majority of judges listed aggravating factors (86.7%), the biomechanical evidence increased the proportion of judges listing mitigating factors (from 29.7 to 47.8%). Our results contribute to the literature on how biological explanations of behavior figure into theories of culpability and punishment.
Authors:
Lisa G Aspinwall; Teneille R Brown; James Tabery
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  337     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2012 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-08-20     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  846-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
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From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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