Date of Submission


Document Type





Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl, Ph.D.


Relationship closeness, Ingroup Bias, Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale (URCS)


Innocence (Psychology), Presumption of innocence, Crime--Sociological aspects


Many people question how family and friends can stay loyal to convicted criminals or lie to throw off a police investigation; this study proposes that this belief in an accused criminal’s innocence has to do with how close a person is to the offender. Using the Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale (URCS) and a series of scenarios, this study compares how participants’ closeness to someone interacts with the participant’s belief in that person’s innocence when faced with a hypothetical criminal accusation. The study was administered as an online survey using the URCS and a series of questions about participants relationships to two individuals. The data collected shows that closeness to a person has a significant positive correlation to participants belief in that person’s innocence. Knowing how people react when someone close to them is accused of a crime could increase the knowledge of how ingroup bias affects people’s judgement of those they are intimate with. These results are also potentially helpful to law enforcement during interviews of suspect’s loved ones, to people who wish to understand why someone they know continues contact with a convict, and/or therapists who interact with patients suffering due to a loved one being accused and/or convicted of a crime.