Terrorists Among Us: Effects of a Suspect's Group Membership, Terrorist Past, and Knowledge on Lay Persons' Interrogation Severity Recommendations

Fischer, Andreas; Oswald, Margit E.; Seiler, Stefan (2013). Terrorists Among Us: Effects of a Suspect's Group Membership, Terrorist Past, and Knowledge on Lay Persons' Interrogation Severity Recommendations. Swiss journal of psychology, 72(1), pp. 13-23. Huber 10.1024/1421-0185/a000094

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Support among US citizens for severe interrogation has been recognized as drawing upon utilitarian as well as on retributive motivation (Carlsmith & Sood, 2009). Two studies were conducted to expand on these findings in a Swiss sample. In Study 1, participants rated the severity of different interrogation techniques, which were scaled to provide an alternative measure of interrogation severity. In Study 2, retributive motivation was manipulated by varying the terrorist past of a male suspect, and utilitarian motivation was manipulated by varying the probability that the suspect could provide valuable information. Additionally, we manipulated the suspect’s group membership. The results of the vignette study suggest that the number and severity of recommended interrogation techniques is mainly influenced by whether the suspect might provide valuable information. Whether the suspect had a terrorist past was an additional influence that, however, was primarily attributable to the suspect’s group membership: If the suspect belonged to the ingroup, participants’ harsher interrogation recommendations were affected by that person’s past, whereas recommendations were not significantly influenced by a terrorist past if the suspect was an outgroup member.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience

UniBE Contributor:

Oswald, Margit

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1421-0185

Publisher:

Huber

Language:

English

Submitter:

Irène Gonce-Gyr

Date Deposited:

18 Jun 2014 10:01

Last Modified:

09 Sep 2017 05:01

Publisher DOI:

10.1024/1421-0185/a000094

Uncontrolled Keywords:

interrogation, retribution, utilitarianism, group membership, black sheep effect

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.45170

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45170

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