Identifying the Effects of the Attractiveness of an Offender's Partner on Judgements of the Severity of a Crime and Corresponding Sentence
Over the years, a lot of importance has been given to physical attractiveness and beauty of an individual. It has been observed that beauty is one of the major things that can have an influence on the perceptions of an individual. This research study is an attempt to study the impact that physical attractiveness has on the process of judiciary.
Attractiveness refers to physical attraction of humans and it is primarily psycho-analytical and relativistic. According to a research carried out by Eagly and Ashmore (1991), attractiveness is a non-egalitarian, superficial and an undemocratic subject that is not worthy of investigation. A few of the studies have observed that the people who are highly attractive are perceived to have positive traits, while those who are low in physical attractiveness are perceived in less positive manner (Dion and Berscheid, 1972, p. 285). Criminological implications related to the subject tend to play an important role for this research study (Beehr & Gilmore, 1982, p. 607). People with different physical attractiveness are also psychologically and physiologically different. The most attractive are in better physical acceptance and popularity to the rest of the people (Maccoun, 1990, p. 303). According to Morrow (1990), a higher level of physical attractiveness is a better outcome for men interacting with women than with men, making relationships more satisfied, calm and intimate with them.
Meta-analysis of research on mock jurors confirms that physically attractive defendants are perceived as being less guilty and receive less severe punishments than plain-looking defendants (Izzett & Leginski, 1974, p. 271).
According to a research by Maccoun (1990), the real life occurrence of this bias has yielded strong relationships between physical attractiveness and lenient sentences as well as bail and fines. It has been observed through a research conducted by Mocan & Tekim (2010), that the people who are physically attractive are having lenient sentences including fines and bails (Mocan & Tekim, 2010, p. 30). However, physical attractiveness appears to be an advantage only for certain defendants and may even be a disadvantage when the facts suggest that they used their attractiveness in the execution of a crime (Maccoun, 1990, p. 303).
Physical appearance has also affected legal decisions by mock jurors. Plain-looking defendants are more likely to be found guilty than attractive defendants, and plain-locking defendants receive significantly longer prison sentences than attractive defendants (Eagly and Ashmore, 1991, p. 109).
According to Feingold (1992), the jury deliberation and the physical attractiveness bias has yielded conflicting results. MacCoun (1990) reported that mock juries were more likely to acquit attractive defendants than plain-looking defendants. In his study, attractiveness was only an advantage for a defendant when the jury needed to reach a unanimous decision; pre-deliberation, jurors' ratings of guilt and innocence did not differ between the attractive and plain-looking defendants. Other research has shown that the physical attractiveness bias may actually be reduced through the use of small mock ...