Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Golding


The present study investigated mock juror perceptions of hate crimes in the courtroom, specifically whether a victim’s religion (Atheist, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) influenced the likelihood that a mock juror would render a hate crime verdict. I employed a mock juror methodology where participants read an assault trial summary, rendered a verdict, and answered a series of rating questions about the victim and defendant. Two theoretical explanations were proposed to explain the main effect of victim religion on participant verdict decisions; that participants would be most likely to render a guilty verdict when the victim is considered an in-group member (i.e., same religion) or when participants perceived the victim’s religion to be commonly targeted in religion-motivated hate crimes. The results showed a main effect of victim religion on participant verdict decisions, such that the Jewish victim received the highest percentage of hate crime verdicts. Participant perceptions of the victim’s trustworthiness and the defendant’s bias mediated the relationship between participant religion (Christian or Jewish) and verdict decisions. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for law enforcement, social psychology, and policy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)