According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences – an average of 22 months longer in prison.
The study, “When Emotionality Trumps Reason,” was authored by Cornell graduate Justin Gunnell and Stephen Ceci, a professor of developmental psychology. It examines how some jurors make decisions rationally, based on facts and logic, while others reason emotionally, taking into consideration factors unrelated to the case – attractiveness being one of them.
The study consisted of 169 Cornell psychology undergraduates, who were classified as either rational or emotional decision-makers through an online survey. They were then given case studies of defendants, complete with a photograph and profile, were read jury instructions and listened to the cases’ closing arguments.