What information shapes and shifts people's attitudes about capital punishment?

Olivia Miske, Nick Schweitzer, Zachary Horne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Although most Americans support capital punishment, many people have misconceptions about its efficacy and administration (e.g., that capital punishment deters crime). Can correcting people’s inaccurate attitudes change their support for the death penalty? If not, are there other strategies that might shift people’s attitudes about the death penalty? Some research suggests that statistical information can correct misconceptions about polarizing topics. Still, statistics might be irrelevant for some people because they may support capital punishment for purely retributive reasons, suggesting other argumentative strategies may be more effective. In Studies 1 and 2, we examined what attitudes shape endorsement of capital punishment and compared how two different interventions shifted these attitudes. Altogether, our findings suggest that attitudes about capital punishment are based on more than just retributive motives, and that correcting misconceptions related to its administration reduces support for capital punishment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Place of PublicationMontreal
PublisherCognitive Science Society
ISBN (Print)0991196775
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2019
Event41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Palais des Congrès de Montréal, Montréal , Canada
Duration: 24 Jul 201927 Jul 2019
Conference number: 41


Conference41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Abbreviated titleCOGSCI 2019
Internet address


  • capital punishment
  • coherence
  • open science


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