Knowledge and Perceptions of the Death Penalty: Examining the Marshall Hypothesis
The Marshall Hypothesis suggests that ignorance of the death penalty is correlated with support for its use unless an individual views capital punishment’s purpose as retribution for a crime. The researchers of this study were interested to see if students that take courses in which capital punishment is discussed, (i.e. criminology majors and minors) would be more knowledgeable and less likely to support the death penalty. Participating students completed a questionnaire testing their knowledge of the death penalty and their attitudes toward its use. Overall, students were more likely to support the death penalty and results also suggest students view its use as retribution for particularly heinous crimes.
Presented at Southwestern Social Science Association, Austin, TX.
Marshall Hypothesis, Capital punishment, Criminology, Violent crimes