Despite a plethora of research examining juror decision-making within cases of rape, very few studies have attempted to examine how the presence of a developmental disorder within a case can impact jurors’ decisions. Research shows that individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are sometimes perceived more negatively (i.e. unempathetic) due to stigmatising beliefs associated with ASD. Thus, the present study sought to examine whether individuals with ASD would be treated differently by jurors in court. Using mock-juror paradigms (N = 204) the present study aimed to explore whether the presence of high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) amongst either the defendant or claimant influenced juror decisions (guilt verdict, confidence in verdict, and believability towards the defendant and claimant) in cases of rape. The presence of ASD amongst either party failed to have an impact on juror decision-making and final guilt verdicts. However, female participants were more likely to believe the complainant than their male counterparts. Implications of the study and directions for future research are discussed.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.