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January 2022

Euthanasia on trial: Examining public attitudes toward nonphysician-assisted death

Author(s): Brigham, J. C., Robinson, T.

Journal/Book: J Soc Issues. 1996; 52: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013. Plenum Publ Corp. 119-129.

Abstract: This study investigated the influence of various contextual effects on the decisions of subjects evaluating a case of nonphysician-assisted suicide. Subjects viewed a videotaped deposition of an individual emotionally or nonemotionally describing how he assisted in the death of his terminally ill wife by disconnecting her respirator or shooting her in the head, The deposition was followed by jury instructions that outlined the duties of the subject and, in some cases, was followed by a nullification instruction that informed the subjects of their right to ignore the law in this case if they felt it would culminate in an unfair verdict. After viewing the videotape, subjects were asked to rate she guilt of the individual as well as their confidence in this rating, Results indicate that the means of death and the type of instruction significantly affect guilt ratings. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Note: Article JE Pfeifer, Univ Regina, Dept Psychol, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada

Keyword(s): JURY NULLIFICATION; GUILT; PERSONALITY; AMBIGUITY; DECISION; LIFE


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