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Theory Behind the Death Penalty Study

Opinions Are NOT Intended Actions

The 'death penalty' and 'capital punishment' are euphemisms to describe the practice of killing a human being in a highly ritualized manner. Executions are sometimes called judicial homicides. These actions are often drawn out and painful for women and men put to death by the government.

The Domino Model of Action shows a progression from opinions to belief systems to intended actions to actions. Think of a falling domino in a line or chain of dominos. A falling domino may or may not knock over the next domino in the chain.


Some people do develop belief systems about the death penalty. But these deep-seated beliefs are not adequately captured by a single isolated opinion.

Although one might have a belief system about the death penalty (or some other issue), that does not necessarily predict intended actions. Further, intended actions do not perfectly predict how one will actually act. However, intended actions are 'closer' to the actual act of voting to repeal or expand the death penalty, sentencing someone to death as a jury member, witnessing an execution, or actually executing someone.

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