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Mental illness in the courtroom : does a psychiatric diagnosis affect perception of a defendant's speech dynamics on the witness stand?

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Stossich, AR (2010) Mental illness in the courtroom : does a psychiatric diagnosis affect perception of a defendant's speech dynamics on the witness stand? Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The present study aimed to investigate prospective juror's perceptions of the dynamics
of social interaction in a courtroom where the defendant is said to have a psychiatric
diagnosis. The experiment adopted Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) to
examine the effect of lawyer and defendant's converging and diverging speech rates on
the jurors' perception of the defendant's credibility, likeability, cooperativeness, intent
and guilt. One-hundred and eighty-six participants were allocated to one of 18
conditions, in which they listened to a reenactment of part of an edited court case and
then filled in questionnaires. It was hypothesised that rapid speed of speech would act
as a credibility cue, resulting in an increase in ratings of defendant credibility. It was
further expected that ratings of cooperativeness and likeability would increase when the
lawyer and defendant's speech rates converged and that ratings of cooperativeness and
likeability would vary across convergence and divergence depending on whether the
defendant's change in speech rate was perceived as being internally or externally
motivated (intent). In regards to the effect of the defendant's mental health label, it was
hypothesised that where the defendant was said to have a psychiatric diagnosis this label
would override the effect of the speech rate manipulations. Little support was found for
the hypotheses outlined in this study. Possible reasons for this lack of support, as well
as suggestions for further research are outlined in the discussion.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Discrimination against the mentally ill, Discrimination in justice administration, Criminal justice, Administration of.
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the author

Additional Information:

Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references.

Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2015 23:37
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2016 00:33
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