Witness Believability: USA Investigation System

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Previous research has shown that gender-based stereotypes had influenced and gave an impact towards juror perceptions of criminal defendants by recording their verdict and evaluation of the case (Strub & Masser, 2015). Within the case, the gender of the participants and witness was manipulated and the level of participants’ benevolent sexism thus, at very least, how it affects the juror perceptions towards witness believability based on their gender type. The participants (n = 69) which were consisted of male and female read a fictitious criminal case summary and answered questionnaire regarding gender of witness believability and the level of participants’ benevolent sexism by using Ambivalent Inventory Sexism (ASI: Glicke & Fiske, 1996) theory.. 

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The findings revealed that as there were no differences between male and female participants in rating believability in normal condition, but the male witness were most likely to be found have significantly higher believability compared to female witness when participants’ high benevolent sexism but yet no significant differences during participants has a low benevolent sexism across witness’ gender.. In addition, the study showed that a high level of participants’ benevolent sexism does affect the witness believability according to their gender.

As the previous research, Strub and Masser (2015) had measured the judgemental process of gender-based stereotypes by simply recorded participants’ verdict and evaluation of the fictional murder case summary, while in the current study the observations were made by having participants completed a two types of questionnaire, which were regarding their perceptions to allow the manipulation of witness believability regarding to their gender type and their level of benevolent sexism by completing Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI: Glicke & Fiske, 1996) questionnaire by using a 6-point scale, (ranging from 0 to 6, where 0 = “disagree strongly and 5 = “agree strongly”). 

The current research had introduced a new independent variable which is the impact of manipulation level of benevolent sexism in both male and female participants towards the effect of witness believability of both genders. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of benevolent sexism towards the score of witness believability for the witness with gender manipulation. The current research is inspired by Strub and Masser’ approach, but investigates another key variable: benevolent sexism.

Glicke and Fiske (1996) had introduced the theory of sexism formulated as Ambivalent Inventory Sexism (ASI) to a perspective of how benevolent sexism may play a crucial role in the inequality between the genders, as does hostile sexism as well as theory of sexism formulated as ambivalence toward women and validate a corresponding measure. Benevolent sexism was defined as a Glicke and Fiske (1996) as a set of interrelated attitudes towards women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restricted roles, although subjectively positive in feeling tone (for the perceiver). The previous study had suggested that the ASI scale

The current study here actively reported how the gender of witness and the level of participants’ benevolent sexism affect the which focuses on gender prescriptions and effect of benevolent sexism. The relationship between benevolent sexism and gender based stereotypes of both participants and witness could be eliminated as there were insignificant score for the witness believability for the witness as participants is low in benevolent sexism. The study consisted of a between-subjects design, examining the effects of witness gender (male vs. female) on juror perceptions of witness believability. Participants were randomly allocated to each of the two experimental conditions, with 36 and 33 participants allocated to the male and female witness conditions. Each participant then received one of two randomised versions of the case summary, depending on the witness gender condition that they had been randomly assigned.  

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