Previous research has demonstrated that stereotypes can be very influential in mock trials. Our study sought to add to the existing research on alibi evidence by investigating the use of gender stereotypes in mock jurors' evaluations of a defendant's alibi. Participants read one of four simulated murder trial transcripts, in which the defendant's gender (man or woman) and type of alibi (gender stereotype-consistent or gender stereotype-inconsistent) were manipulated. Results demonstrated a lack of direct effects of defendant gender and alibi type on verdict certainty; however, these factors did indirectly influence mock jurors' perceptions of the defendant's guilt via their influence on perceived defendant femininity, credibility, and likeability. Defendants who were seen as more feminine were rated more positively in terms of credibility and likeability, and these characteristics were associated with lower guilt ratings. Thus, gender stereotypes may influence how mock jurors evaluate trial information.

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Keywords defendant gender, gender stereotypes in the courtroom, juror decision-making, perceptions of alibi evidence
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Journal Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Maeder, E.M, & Dempsey, J.L. (Julie L.). (2013). A Likely Story? The Influence of Type of Alibi and Defendant Gender on Juror Decision-Making. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 20(4), 543–552. doi:10.1080/13218719.2012.727066