Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Dr. Cheryl A. Terrance


A jury simulation paradigm was employed in this series of studies exploring hate crime. In the first two studies., crime label (i.e., bias-motivated assault ·vs. first degree assault) and victim gender were varied within the context of a sexual orientation motivated (study 1) or gender motivated (study 2) hate crime scenario. Results from the first study indicated that attributions of blame against the victim varied as a function of participants' attitudes toward minority sexual orientation. Results of study two indicated that participants in the assault condition were more likely to find the defendant guilty than those in the hate crime condition. Participants in study two also made differential attributions of victim blame depending on crime label, such that those in the assault condition found the victim to be more mentally unstable and they also found the defendant to be more reasonable than those in the hate crime condition.

Jurors in the third study read a transcript depicting an attack on a gay man by a man in either a local bar (i.e., not a gay bar) or a gay bar. Within location conditions, jurors were presented with either "provocation" by the victim (i.e., asking the perpetrator to dance and putting his arm around him) or alternatively no ''provocation" was presented .. Results of study three indicated significant differences of victim blame depending upon condition. Participants in the local bar and "provocation" present conditions were more likely to blame the victim for the attack than those in the gay bar or "provocation" absent conditions. Implications for hate crime law and attribution theory within the courtroom are discussed.