Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Andre Kehn


The main objective of the current study was to extend current knowledge of extralegal factors, weight discrimination, and the culpable control model (CCM) by examining the impact of defendant weight and mock jurors’ sex on negative spontaneous evaluations (NSEs) and courtroom judgments. Explicit and implicit measures of anti-fat attitudes were investigated as mediators. The current study utilized a 3 (defendant weight: overweight, lean, control/no image) x 2 (mock jurors’ sex) between-subjects factorial design. To reduce potential bias and order effects, the study was conducted in two parts. During part one, mock jurors were randomly assigned to one of three conditions and provided with a check fraud case summary that contained an image (or no image in the control condition) of the defendant. Mock jurors responded to a series of questions designed to measure NSEs and courtroom judgment. During part two, mock jurors completed implicit and explicit measures of anti-fat attitudes. Results revealed no main effects of defendant weight, mock jurors’ sex, or mock jurors’ anti-fat attitudes on case-related judgments. However, results demonstrated support for the CCM such that NSEs significantly predicted several case-related judgments including a greater willingness to convict the defendant. While limited in terms of verisimilitude and generalizability, results from the study yield significant findings that have been undocumented in the published literature.