Date of Award






Degree Type

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Brandt Smith

Second Advisor

Michael Osborne

Third Advisor

John A. Barone


The purpose of this study was to examine the Black Sheep Effect and how an individual’s deviation (becoming a black sheep) from the in-group impacts the groups perception of the black sheep. Participants acted as mock jurors and chose a verdict for the defendant based on a vignette followed by a photo of the defendant. Race, the commonality shared between the defendants and mock jurors, acted as an automatic group divider. Participants analyzed were of either the same or different race from the defendants in the vignettes. One hundred and thirty individuals participated in the study, of which 66 were White and 45 were Black. A logistic regression showed an indication of the Black Sheep Effect among Black mock jurors and a strong guilt bias among White mock jurors. An ANOVA was used to understand the interaction between mock juror race and the verdicts delivered upon the defendants. However, mock jurors found their fairness and confidence in their verdicts to be high. This research will aid those in the legal system when considering implicit bias in the courtroom.

Included in

Psychology Commons