Thursday, 16th March – 15:50: External Actors Influences on Plea Outcomes

Brian Cutler, Ph.D.

Brian Cutler, Ph.D., Program Director for the Media Psychology Program

This Thursday, March 16, 2023, research by Media Psychology Program Director Dr. Brian Cutler, Ms. Annmarie Khairalla (Ontario Tech University), and Dr. Miko Wilford (University of Massachusetts Lowell) will be presented at the 2023 American Psychology-Law Society Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Former graduate student of Dr. Cutler’s, Ms. Khairalla will be at the conference to present this research which uses innovative virtual reality technology to examine potential racial bias in the plea bargaining process.

The researchers examined how defense attorneys’ plea-related recommendations might be impacted by the race of their client. United States defense attorneys were recruited via listservs and direct solicitations. Participant-attorneys viewed either a simulated hit-and-run or larceny scenario, and were then asked questions about their likely plea recommendations. Preliminary results indicate that while defense attorneys do not rate their likelihood of success at trial differently based on the race of their client or the strength of the evidence, they are more likely to indicate that it would be in the best interest of their Black clients to accept a plea deal.

About The American Psychology-Law Society

The American Psychology-Law Society outlines three goals that reflect the many activities, specialties, and contributions made by our members:

  1. Advancing the contributions of psychology to the understanding of law and legal institutions through basic and applied research.

  2. Promoting the education of psychologists in matters of law and the education of legal personnel in matters of psychology.

  3. Informing the psychological and legal communities and the general public of current research, educational and service activities in the field of psychology and law.

Learn more at:

Go to Media Psychology Overview

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