Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Cynthia McPherson Frantz

Committee Member(s)

Nancy Darling
Patricia deWinstanley
Meghan Morean


Metaphorically framed stereotypes, Metaphors, Dehumanizing metaphors, Outgroup metaphors, Racial stereotypes, Victim race, Attitudes toward police, Juror cognition, Juror decision making, Police force case, Cognitive science and law


In addition to structural issues within the U.S. justice system, psychological factors contribute to the recent pattern of non-indictments of police officers tried for potential uses of excessive force against Black people. This paper examines the effects of metaphorically framed racial stereotypes and victim race on juror cognition, reasoning, and decision-making. A study was administered via Amazon Mechanical Turk to 420 White participants. The hypotheses were tested using a 3 (Black stereotype metaphors vs. non-stereotypical race-neutral dehumanizing metaphors vs. non-metaphoric semantically similar descriptors) x 2 (race of victim of police violence: White vs. Black) factorial design. While no significant effects of metaphor were found, the experiment identified significant main effects of race and general attitudes toward police as well as interactions between the two. When the case involved a Black victim as opposed to a White victim, participants were more likely to confidently vote against the indictment of the police officer and rate the actions of the police officer as more justified and use of lethal force as more necessary. The involvement of a Black victim also strengthened the relationship between favorable attitudes toward the police and pro-police ratings and decision-making.

Included in

Psychology Commons