Perceived Fairness of Death-Eligible Court Rulings in Triadic Racial Conditions

Brandon Shalchi : Interdisciplinary Studies

Mentor: Coye Cheshire, School of Information

Empirically, when there is a black defendant and white victim, U.S. judges and jurors believe the defendant to be guiltier than he/she actually is. Brandon is exploring how we can manipulate the race of the defendant and victim in death-eligible cases to hinder the onset of racially charged, implicit biases within court rulings. The methodologies used are online surveys via Amazon Mechanical Turk and semi-structured interviews. This is a first step in a larger virtual reality research agenda: how virtual reality could manipulate avatars—in terms of race—of the defendant and victim to counteract racially implicit biases. This research could contribute to more just rulings by identifying which racial manipulation is perceived to be the fairest.