Journal of Applied Social Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 21 Issue 11 (June 1991), Pages 875-956

Integration of Mitigation, Intention, and Outcome Damage Information, by Students and Circuit Court Judges (pages 875-895)

This article examines the problem of how undergraduate students and State Circuit Court Judges combine three specific components of information (pertaining to mitigation, intention, and seriousness of outcome damage) to make a net evaluative judgment of blame. The problem is considered within the framework and philosophy of Anderson's information integration and functional measurement theory. In three experiments, two levels each of the three information components identified were factorially crossed for two independent cases: self‐defense under provocation, and altruistic defense of another. Target stimuli consisted of 100‐word scenarios each embodying one factorial treatment combination. Experiment 1 used an independent group and Experiment 2 a repeated measures design. Experiment 3 replicated the second experiment using Judges as subjects. It was found that students integrated mitigation, intention, and outcome damage information by an adding process, and that the results concerning these three independent variables were essentially similar for both types of design. The most striking differences between Judges' and students' judgments centered on the differential use of mitigation information. Judges showed a far broader range of nonadditive, simple interaction effects between mitigation and both outcome damage and type of case. These results presumably reflect the primary concerns and responsibilities of the Judiciary. Questions of mitigation may thus complicate the otherwise straightforward additive integration of information in the intent‐damage paradigm, and in judgments of seriousness.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>