Research Report: Looking Deathworthy

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Gloria E. Wiggs 10/10/2011
Prof. Pearson
Intro to Sociology

Research Report: Looking Deathworthy

Researchers Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Paul G. Davis Valerie J. Purdie-Vaughns, and Sheri Lynn Johnson studied whether being stereotypically black influences the probability of receiving the death penalty. Sociologist have previously proven that people quickly apply racial stereotypes to blacks who have the stereotypically appearance of a black person. This racial profile effects how people judge an individual and this judgment may very well influence how one is treated by others.

This study is important because it shows how racial stereotypes can affect the sentence given to a defendant guilty of murder. The relationship of the different sentences of black on black murders vs. black on white murders is also slightly exposed in this study. For science, this shows a new perspective of how modern society views and profiles African-American men. These stereotypes have and influence on how people treat one another, in this case African-American murder defendants, which is changing society as a whole. Judgment plays a major role in how we interact with one another.

The researchers had a very basic research design. There topic was if being stereotypically black influences the possibility of being sentenced with the death penalty. They defined there problem by stating how previous researchers have found a correlation between racial profiling and how people judge others. Researchers have also found that murders of white victims are more likely than murderers of black victims to be sentenced to death. The article Looking Deathworthy by the researchers that conducted this experiment, states that the researchers reviewed plenty of previous studies, theories, and cases. They conducted the experiment in two methods. The first method they showed pictures of 44 black males convicted of murdering white victims in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia during 1979 and...
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