Factors affecting the compartmentalization of punitive and compensatory damages
Paige, Danielle L.
Laughery, Kenneth R., Sr.
Master of Arts thesis
This study examines the effects of the amount of pain and suffering awards, the recipient of the punitive award, and the inclusion company profit information on the compartmentalization of punitive damage awards. Participants (N = 245) read three personal injury scenarios, filled out a demographic and attitudinal survey, and awarded punitive damages for each scenario. Results revealed that when profit information was not given, participants exhibited leakage effects. That is, participants awarded significantly more punitive damages when pain and suffering was high and significantly less when it was low in the absence of profit information. When profit information was present, however, there was no effect of the level of pain and suffering; participants compartmentalized their punitive damage decisions. Award variance was also significantly higher when pain and suffering was high and profit information absent than when profit information was given.
Law; Social psychology