Poster or Presentation Title

The Impact of Gender and Race on the Interpretation of Force Used in Police Encounters

Student Author Information

Dana Seavey, University of LynchburgFollow

Location

Virtual | Room 3

Access Type

Campus Access Only

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-4-2021 10:15 AM

End Date

7-4-2021 10:30 AM

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study is a partial replica of an original study1 where the researchers experimentally investigated the intersection of race and gender and their effect on the attitudes and attributions of people seeing police utilize force against civilians. Participants (N = 128) filled out a Google Form where they were randomly assigned to look at a picture of the police officer, a picture of the civilian, and a video where a police officer either used or did not use force during an arrest. After watching the video, participants completed a series of questions in Likert-scale format that indicate their attitudes and attributions towards the police officer. Their internal attributions accredited the officer’s use of force to an internal trait, such as aggressiveness or emotional reactivity. Their external attributions accredited the officer’s use of force to the external situation, such as the dangerousness of the situation. These attributions give more insight into the perceived effectiveness and amount of trust participants’ have in officers based on their race and gender. It is expected that more external attributions will go hand in hand with more trusting attitudes and perceiving more effectiveness of the officer. Whereas, internal attributions, such as aggressiveness or emotional reactivity, tend to be associated with negative attitudes towards the police officer’s perceived effectiveness and less trusting attitudes.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Cylke
Dr. Kenneth Wagner
Dr. Ei Hlaing
Dr. Nichole Sanders

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Apr 7th, 10:15 AM Apr 7th, 10:30 AM

The Impact of Gender and Race on the Interpretation of Force Used in Police Encounters

Virtual | Room 3

The present study is a partial replica of an original study1 where the researchers experimentally investigated the intersection of race and gender and their effect on the attitudes and attributions of people seeing police utilize force against civilians. Participants (N = 128) filled out a Google Form where they were randomly assigned to look at a picture of the police officer, a picture of the civilian, and a video where a police officer either used or did not use force during an arrest. After watching the video, participants completed a series of questions in Likert-scale format that indicate their attitudes and attributions towards the police officer. Their internal attributions accredited the officer’s use of force to an internal trait, such as aggressiveness or emotional reactivity. Their external attributions accredited the officer’s use of force to the external situation, such as the dangerousness of the situation. These attributions give more insight into the perceived effectiveness and amount of trust participants’ have in officers based on their race and gender. It is expected that more external attributions will go hand in hand with more trusting attitudes and perceiving more effectiveness of the officer. Whereas, internal attributions, such as aggressiveness or emotional reactivity, tend to be associated with negative attitudes towards the police officer’s perceived effectiveness and less trusting attitudes.