Considering her circumstances: How ethnicity and cultural relativist arguments affect sexual harassment judgments by undergraduate and community mock jurors

Samantha L. Schwartz, Jennifer S. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most research on sexual harassment has involved undergraduate students and European Americans, whose perspectives may not be representative of the broader population. This study investigated whether judgments of a sexual harassment trial vary by plaintiff ethnicity (European American or Latin American), type of sample (undergraduates or community members) and mock juror ethnicity (European American or Latin American). We also tested the effects of a cultural relativist argument about Latin American cultural values influencing the plaintiff. Results indicated that community and Latin American mock jurors rendered more pro-plaintiff verdicts, particularly when the case did not include a cultural relativist argument. Although the cultural relativist argument did not affect undergraduates' judgments, it caused a backlash among community members, leading to more pro-defendant verdicts. Judgments across type of sample and mock juror ethnicity were partially mediated by self-referencing and hostile sexism; affiliation with Latin American culture also predicted judgments of the Latina American plaintiff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-438
Number of pages20
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law

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