Since several decades there has been a lively debate on the legitimacy of the death penalty between those for and those against capital punishment (see e.g., Ellsworth & Gross, 1994; Fan, Keltner, & Wyatt, 2002; Niven, 2002). The entrance of capital punishment in the forefront of debate and consciousness at nearly all levels of society is due at least in part to the plethora of movies and books on this topic (Giles, 1995). But what is the effect of such media accounts on recipients?

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In a laboratory experiment, Howells, Flanagan, and Hagan (1995) demonstrated that the screening of tapes of executions leads to reduced support for the death penalty. A study by Holbert, Shah, and Kwak (2004) suggests that viewing police reality shows,...

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