Punitive reactions to completed crimes versus accidentally uncompleted crimes

Oswald, Margit E.; Orth, Ulrich; Aeberhard, Marianne; Schneider, Eliane (2005). Punitive reactions to completed crimes versus accidentally uncompleted crimes. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(4), pp. 718-731. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02143.x

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Previous studies have shown that the harm caused by crime affects punitive reactions even if differences in the degree of harm are merely accidental. However, it remains unclear whether the effect is direct or whether it is mediated by attributed responsibility or blame. Participants were 303 university students who listened to 4 case vignettes (between-subjects design). Half received information about a completed crime and half about an accidentally uncompleted crime. Crime type was either fraud or rape. The results suggest that individuals consider the actual harm to a significantly greater extent than attribution theory would predict. Moreover, the link between harm and punishment was virtually not mediated by attributed blame and not moderated by individual differences in morality. Future studies should investigate whether the harm-punishment link is a result of an automatic act of retaliation or a desire to compensate for the harm done to the victim (restorative justice).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Oswald, Margit and Orth, Ulrich

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

0021-9029

Publisher:

Wiley-Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ulrich Orth

Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2015 14:37

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2015 14:37

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02143.x

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73257

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73257

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