An Examination of the Relation between Religiosity and Decision Making
Dobyanski, Danielle E.
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Research has indicated religiosity can influence decisions, daily actions and perceptions of others. Through previous research, religiosity has affected decision making when considering a drug usage and bombing. However, little research has explore how religiosity effects mock jury decision making, specifically when considering a homicide case. Therefore, the current study will examine how religiosity can influence Mock Jury’s verdict on a murder trial. The following scales are te=he dependent variables: Religious Commitment Inventory, Quest Scale, Evangelism Scale, Devotionalism Scale, Revised Legal Attitudes Questionnaire, Dogmatism scale, the Openness to Experience and Judgment/Open-mindedness scale and Religious Fundamentalism Scale. The independent variable is a homicide case. A Binary Logistic Regression was used to determine if religiosity predicts a guilt or non-guilty verdict. Results found that only Judgment significantly affected mock juror’s decision making, such that as the participant’s Judgement increased, the likelihood of a verdict of innocence decreased. These results hold implications for jury selection. In past research indicated that Religiosity plays a key role in decision making. However, these studies did not test the subjects with the Judgement scale. This could explain as to why the results favored more in Judgement than in Religiosity when considering a homicide. Due to the current study’s demographic patterns, a limitation is has been noticed. Like past research, the demographics favors white, Christian males. Therefore, future research may want to explore a wider range of ethnicity and religious backgrounds. Specifically, future research may want to focus sampling on ethnic minorities, individuals with either more or no education, religious minorities, or those that are middle-aged or older to find if the dependent variables show differences in how punitive mock jurors can be. The implication of this study is for jury selection. Especially in a homicide case, including abuse, the defense team should focus less on the possible juror’s religiosity and more on their judgement. As seen in the current study, judgement and its accompanying variables, such as openness and objectivity, can be more important in determining whether the defendant is guilty.