Title

Impact of Suspect Race on Perceived Legitimacy of Police Use of Force

Presenter Information

Dawn Little

Department

Psychological Science

Major

Psychology

Research Advisor

Cundiff, Jessica L.

Advisor's Department

Psychological Science

Abstract

Recent social movements have drawn attention to the excessive use of police force on African American men. The purpose of this research is to examine whether police use of force is perceived as more legitimate when used on African American compared to European American male suspects. Participants will read one of six scenarios describing a police encounter with a male suspect. The scenarios vary on two dimensions: (1) whether the suspect is threatening, non-threatening, or ambiguous and (2) whether the suspect is African American or European American. After reading the scenarios, participants will rate their perceptions of the legitimacy of police use of force. We hypothesize that participants will rate police use of force as more legitimate when used on African American vs. European American suspects, but only when threat of suspect is ambiguous. We did not expect differences based on suspect race for the threatening and non-threatening conditions.

Biography

Dawn Little is a senior graduating in December 2017 with her BA in Psychology and a minor in Leadership Communication. She plans to attend Graduate School and focus on Social Psychology. She is the Vice President of the CASB Undergraduate Student Leadership Council, a STEP UP Student Ambassador, a member of the Student Leadership Conference planning committee, and has interned with COER. When not at school, she works year round at Six Flags St. Louis as a Managerial Supervisor of Guest Services.

Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Start Date

4-11-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

4-11-2017 3:00 PM

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Apr 11th, 1:00 PM Apr 11th, 3:00 PM

Impact of Suspect Race on Perceived Legitimacy of Police Use of Force

Upper Atrium/Hall

Recent social movements have drawn attention to the excessive use of police force on African American men. The purpose of this research is to examine whether police use of force is perceived as more legitimate when used on African American compared to European American male suspects. Participants will read one of six scenarios describing a police encounter with a male suspect. The scenarios vary on two dimensions: (1) whether the suspect is threatening, non-threatening, or ambiguous and (2) whether the suspect is African American or European American. After reading the scenarios, participants will rate their perceptions of the legitimacy of police use of force. We hypothesize that participants will rate police use of force as more legitimate when used on African American vs. European American suspects, but only when threat of suspect is ambiguous. We did not expect differences based on suspect race for the threatening and non-threatening conditions.