Looking deathworthy: perceived stereotypicality of Black defendants predicts capital-sentencing outcomes

Psychol Sci. 2006 May;17(5):383-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01716.x.


Researchers previously have investigated the role of race in capital sentencing, and in particular, whether the race of the defendant or victim influences the likelihood of a death sentence. In the present study, we examined whether the likelihood of being sentenced to death is influenced by the degree to which a Black defendant is perceived to have a stereotypically Black appearance. Controlling for a wide array of factors, we found that in cases involving a White victim, the more stereotypically Black a defendant is perceived to be, the more likely that person is to be sentenced to death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Black or African American*
  • Capital Punishment / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Capital Punishment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Crime Victims
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Lawyers / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Lawyers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stereotyping*
  • United States