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1. 1|Page G543-Reaching a verdict. (a) Identify the link between attractiveness of a client and the outcome of a trial. (10) The link between the attractiveness of the…
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  • 1. 1|Page G543-Reaching a verdict. (a) Identify the link between attractiveness of a client and the outcome of a trial. (10) The link between the attractiveness of the client and the outcome of the trial is well established and the better candidate will clearly identify this link with reference to research such as (key study) Castellow, Dion, Asch, Bartol and Bartol. Better answers will be marked by elaboration, quality and/or example, as well as explicit application of evidence. The weaker candidate may make general or bland statements which lack detail or specific references. Research was conducted by Bartol and Bartol (1994) into the role attractiveness plays in decision making. They outline three types of attractiveness namely: physical, social and attitudinal attractiveness. Legal teams often coach their witnesses to appear as physically attractive as possible in terms of dress, speech etc as it is shown that physically attractive people, especially if they have high social status (like Paris Hilton who got a very short jail sentence for a crime which usually merits a much longer spell in prison) will generally receive more lenient sentences. If a witness or defendant also has similar beliefs or attitudes to a jury member that person may favour them over someone with dissimilar attitudes. Dion et al as well as Asch researched `the halo effect` wherein physically attractive people are associated with also having attractive qualities, when measured on a mental health indicator scale used to ascertain levels of mania in schizophrenia. Castellow et al (1990) tested the hypothesis that the more attractive a person was to the jury the less likely they were to be found guilty, this may also apply to sentencing but this is not explicit in the studies. A mock trial about sexual harassment was enacted for 71 male and 74 female psychology students, pictures or defendants and victims, previously rated for attractiveness were shown to 4 groups, randomly allocated in this independent measures design lab experiment. Results showed that when the defendant was attractive and the victim less so, guilty verdicts were at 56%, with 76% for an unattractive defendant. (256 words)
  • 2. 2|Page 0 marks – No or irrelevant answer. 1-2 marks – Psychological terminology is sparse or absent. Description of evidence is limited, mainly inaccurate and lacks detail. There is no interpretation or explanation of the evidence in the context of the question. The answer is unstructured and lacks organisation. Answer lacks grammatical structure and contains many spelling errors. 3-5 marks – Psychological terminology is basic but adequate. Description of evidence is generally accurate and coherent, has peripheral relevance but lacks detail. Elaboration/use of example/ quality of description is reasonable but interpretation of the evidence in the context of the question is poor. The answer has some structure and organisation. The answer is mostly grammatically correct with some spelling errors. 6-8 marks – Psychological terminology is competent and mainly accurate. Description of evidence is mainly accurate and relevant, coherent and reasonably detailed. Elaboration/use of example/quality of description is good. There is some evidence of interpretation and explanation in the context of the question. The answer has good structure and organisation. The answer is mostly grammatically correct with few spelling errors. 9-10 marks – Correct and comprehensive use of psychological terminology. Description of evidence is accurate, relevant, coherent and detailed. Elaboration/use of example/quality of description is very good and the ability to interpret/explain the evidence selected in the context of the question is very good. The answer is competently structured and organised. Answer is mostly grammatically correct with occasional spelling errors. (b) Evaluate the usefulness of research into the client`s attractiveness in relation to jury trials. The question asks the candidate to evaluate usefulness. This can refer to how well the research can be applied, how the research is useful to the individual or the use of the research on a societal level. It may be useful in considering the jury and court dynamic. At the top level a more developed and/or elaborated response containing more precise evaluative points and/or issues. Development/elaboration could be achieved, for example, by incorporating a discussion on how useful or not some research is. Try to use PointExampleCommentComment+ Research into trail influencing and verdict outcome is often done using the mock trial format, using students of law or psychology as participants, so method and sample are an issue in defining how useful results and conclusions are. The experiments outlined in Part A were all independent measures design where participants were randomly allocated to a number of conditions. This method is usually quick and easy to organise, and avoids attrition. However it can prove less valid as it does not take into account individual differences, which may affect the validity of the results. Also repeat experiments using the same participants to see if different conditions change outcome do not occur so this research only ever correlational. Therefore Castellow, whilst useful to counsel may be less valid than is desirable leaving them unable to prove cause and effect thus lessening its usefulness.
  • 3. 3|Page The participants of research into courts and the legal system are often students of law or psychology which can lead to less valid results but a very reliable methodology as such participants, because they are students and gaining extra credits for participation, may be influenced by demand characteristics, which create the participant effect of socially desirable answers. Conversely, however, the `screw you effect’ may come into play when students are forced to take part as part of a course credit, all these issues lessen validity, and make the research, however interesting, less useful. The mundane realism of mock trials is variable and the data from them increasingly useful, the more realistic the legal event is. It is unethical to use a real trial for research, and also illegal to manipulate the legal system. Mock trials follow a number of different formats, some are transcript only, others watched on TV monitors and some acted out in real time. The latter is the most realistic providing the greatest demand characteristics’ and providing more realistic reactions to juries and clients. It is debatable as to whether conclusions gathered from mock trials are useful as the real event of a trial has much more power and thus greater demand characteristics. The research outline in Part A all leads us to understand that attractiveness can be correlated to desired outcome, this is useful to know as it can be applied to many other social situations. Attractiveness leading to success , as outlined by Bartol is of primary importance as legal counsel may seek to portray their client as physically and socially attractive, whilst coaching the client to be as attitudinally congruent with both the legal team and the jury by not expressing any outlandish ideas, and addressing the court in a way which does not allude to arrogance or dogmatism. Bartol suggests that a jury could be charmed away from a guilty verdict by behaviour linked with physical appearance. This knowledge is useful to counsel and clients and to judges. Bartol outlined the types of attractiveness which most affects outcome and Dion and Asch outline how easily humans can be fooled by a pretty face. This attractiveness can be especially relevant when the client has committed a crime which is not normative for their sex/gender stereotype, such as child sex abuse and bank robbery for women or rape against males or males being victims of domestic violence. So research into attractiveness and outcome is useful, if low in ecological validity because of the contrived
  • 4. 4|Page conditions used in research. It is useful to counsel, to the justice system generally but may confuse juries if outlined and lead them to overcompensate (Castellow 1990) and lead to an undesirable outcome for counsel. (word count 596) 0 marks – No or irrelevant answer. 1-3 marks – Few evaluative points. Range of points is sparse. No evidence of argument. Points are not organised, and are of peripheral relevance to the context of the question. Sparse or no use of supporting examples. Limited or no valid conclusions that effectively summarise issues and arguments. 4-7 marks – Argument and organisation is limited, and some points are related to the context of the question. Limited evaluative points. Valid conclusions that effectively summarise issues and arguments are evident and demonstrate some understanding. 8-11 marks – Some evaluative points covering a range of issues. The argument is well organised, but may lack balance or development, and is related to the context of the question. Good use of examples. Valid conclusions that effectively summarise issues and arguments are competent and understanding is good. 12-15 marks – Many evaluative points covering a range of issues. The argument is competently organised, balanced and well developed. The answer is explicitly related to the context of the question. Effective use of examples. Valid conclusions that effectively summarise issues and arguments are highly skilled and show thorough understanding. Mark Judge The Leventhorpe School March 2010
  • 5. 5|Page Mark Scheme from Psychexchange 1-2 3-5 6-8 9 - 10 Terminology Sparse or Basic but Competent, Correct & absent adequate mainly comprehensive accurate use Description Limited, Generally Mainly Accurate, mainly accurate & accurate & relevant, inaccurate, coherent, relevant, coherent & lacks detail vaguely coherent & detailed relevant, lacks reasonably detail detailed Elaboration/use None Reasonable Good Very Good of Example Explanation of None Poor Some Very Good Evidence in Context of question Structure & Unstructured Some Good Competent Organisation & lacks organisation Grammar & Lacks Mostly Mostly Mostly Spelling grammatical grammatically grammatically grammatically structure. correct with correct with correct with Many some spelling few spelling occasional spelling errors errors spelling errors errors Mark Scheme for Part (b) 1-3 4-7 8 - 11 12 - 15 Quantity of Few (2) Limited (3) Some (5) Many (7+) Evaluative points Range of Sparse Limited Covers a range Covers a range points of issues of issues Argument None Limited Lacks balance Balanced & or development well developed Organisation Points not Limited Well organised Competent organised Relevance to Points Some points Related Explicitly Context of made are of are related related question peripheral relevance Use of Sparse or Limited Good Effective supporting none Examples Summary Limited or Evident & Competent & Highly skilled conclusions none demonstrate understanding & shows some is good thorough understanding understanding
  • 6. 6|Page
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