The effects of morality and facial attractiveness on allocations of responsibility for consumer product safety
McQuilkin, Meredith L.
Laughery, Kenneth R., Sr.
Master of Arts
This study investigates the effects of perceived morality and facial attractiveness on jurors' allocations of responsibility in a civil litigation context. Confronted with uncertainty, jurors may focus less on the factual evidence presented and more on peripheral cues. It was hypothesized that jurors will attribute more responsibility to a bad individual compared to a good person, and unattractive consumers will be allocated more responsibility for an accident than their attractive counterparts. Results indicate perceived morality significantly influences responsibility allocations. Bad people were given more responsibility than good people. Although unattractive consumers were given more responsibility than attractive consumers the difference was not statistically significant. Finally, allocations to the consumer and manufacturer differed depending upon the products used in each scenario, indicating that responsibility allocations to consumers are related to the type of product. Implications for civil litigation include the awareness that jurors decisions are influenced by the type of product and subjective information about the consumer.
Law; Social psychology