Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Gary Moran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mary Volcansek

Third Advisor's Name

Margaret Bull Kovera

Date of Defense



Compensatory and punitive awards were created to serve two separate and distinct purposes: to compensate the plaintiff for his/her injuries and to punish the defendant for negligent conduct, respectively. Thus, defendant characteristics should have no impact on compensatory award decisions. Extensive research, however, indicates that these extra-legal factors do impact damage awards. The purpose o f this study was to examine whether varying types of judicial instructions could be used to reduce the effects o f such extra-legal considerations, particularly a defendant’s status as an individual or a corporation and defendant reprehensibility. As hypothesized, participants awarded larger compensatory awards in high reprehensibility conditions than in low reprehensibility conditions. There was also a trend to award larger sums o f money when the defendant was a corporation rather than an individual. However, none o f the four levels o f judicial instructions were shown to counter the impact o f either extra-legal consideration.



Included in

Psychology Commons



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