Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The current study asks when, if ever, is it acceptable to use "enhanced" interrogation techniques? A mostly White (90.4%), female (55%) sample of 240 participants read a vignette describing an Italian or Saudi Arabian suspect, who was a U.S. citizen or illegal immigrant, who was interrogated on either a U.S. army base or abroad for one of two crimes: child molestation or terrorism. The study failed to find the hypothesized interaction that participants would be more likely to endorse the use of harsh interrogation tactics when the suspect was Saudi Arabian, an illegal immigrant, accused of terrorism, and interrogated abroad. Instead, an unexpected finding of ethnicity emerged: participants were more likely to endorse the use of harsh techniques when the suspect was Italian. The black sheep effect and reactivity are possible explanations presented, but future research is needed to further explore how these factors affect perceptions of "enhanced" interrogations.