Innocent by reason of brain injury: perceptions of morality, guilt, and sentencing for defendants with traumatic brain injury
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/etd/id/51597
MetadataShow full item record
St. Pierre, Maria E.
Type of Workapplication/pdf
vi, 85 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Psychology
Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) tend to be predisposed to be aggressive tendencies because the injury enables impulsivity, loss of self-control, and the inability to modify behaviors. These behavior changes often lead to criminal involvement; for example, the majority of the prison population has sustained at least one TBI in their lifetime compared to the prevalence of brain injuries in the general population. However, there is little research investigating the perceptions of legality and criminality in this population. These three experiments that follow investigated public perceptions of morality, level of guilt, and appropriate sentencing for crimes committed by defendants with different severity of TBI (i.e., mild, severe, and no TBI). Overall, results showed that defendants with TBI were perceived as being less guilty, being morally justified, and receiving milder punishments relative to the no-TBI defendants. Therefore, in a courtroom, it is pertinent that the defense attorney educate the judge and/or the jury regarding the effects brain injuries have on the cognition, behavior, and the emotions of an individual.