Double Discounting: The Effects of Comparative Negligence on Mock Juror Decision Making

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Faculty Publications, Department of Psychology, Vol: 30, Issue: 3, Page: 287-307

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Deffenbacher, Kenneth A.; Bornstein, Brian H.; Penrod, Steven D.; McGorty, E. Kiernan
Mugshot Exposure; Eyewitnesses; Witness Accuracy; Retroactive Interference; Target Identification; Transference Errors; Source Confusion; Proximate Temporal Context; Bystander; Stress; Fidelity; Eyewitness Memory; Forensics; Eyewitness Identification of Perpetuator; Accuracy of Eyewitness Recall; Reliablity of Eyewitnesses; Face Recognition Studies; Activation Mode; Attention Control; mugshots; photobiased lineups; retroactive interference; source confusion; unconscious transference; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Psychology; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Psychiatry and Psychology
article description
Two experiments were conducted to ascertain the effects of comparative negligence on damage awards. Participants awarded damages for a mock medical malpractice case in which the level of the plaintiff’s negligence was varied. Both experiments showed that damage awards were doubly discounted for partially negligent plaintiffs. Experiment 1 also found that the responses of college students did not differ from those of people who had been called for jury duty. Experiment 2 examined four components of the damage award and showed that the reduction due to the level of the plaintiff’s negligence occurred only in damages for bodily harm. Implications for the judicial system are discussed.