These online studies tested whether combining education about the Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) defense with education about mental disorders might encourage jurors to use it in a suitable case. In Study 1, Canadian jury eligible community members (N = 370) were provided with mental disorder (vs. irrelevant) education, and NCRMD (vs. irrelevant) education, then read a fabricated NCRMD trial stimulus in which the defendant's mental disorder varied (schizophrenia, substance use disorder, depression). Results showed that in the trial involving depression, for the group who received mental disorder education, NCRMD education increased the likelihood of a guilty verdict. In Study 2 (N = 407)—which featured a different case—again, NCRMD education combined with mental disorder education increased likelihood of a guilty verdict in the depression condition. These studies show that mental disorder education is a potentially useful tool, but can backfire in some contexts.

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Keywords insanity, juror decision-making, mental disorder stigma, not criminally responsible
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Journal International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Yamamoto, S. (Susan), Maeder, E.M, & Fenwick, K.L. (Kristin L.). (2017). Criminal Responsibility in Canada: Mental Disorder Stigma Education and the Insanity Defense. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 16(4), 313–335. doi:10.1080/14999013.2017.1391357