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A bar fight in virtual reality : the hypothetical scenario method and the influence of the past and personality traits

Ekrod, S. (2018) A bar fight in virtual reality : the hypothetical scenario method and the influence of the past and personality traits.

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Abstract:Research in criminal decision making broadly deals with the question of how people decide to get involved in a criminal act and how to predict it. This includes violent and aggressive behaviour against others. In the past, the focus of this type of research has been on declaring offenders as rational actors rather than taking their personality into account. This study aims to gain more insight in the relation between specific personal characteristics and the intention to aggress and what reinforces this relationship, for example reports of criminal behaviour in the past as a victim or an offender. It was hypothesized that three out of six personality dimensions relate to the intention to aggress and that self-reported victimization and offending reinforce these relationships. In addition, this study aims to find evidence of the usefulness of Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool in criminal decision making research. Commonly, a written scenario is presented to the participants with corresponding questions to answer but due to the technical improvements in recent years, VR can be used as well. Rather than only reading and trying to imagine oneself in the situation, VR provides a visual representation of it. It was expected that the participants report a higher degree of presence in the VR-scenario than in the written condition. To test these hypotheses an experiment was conducted. A scenario of a “bar fight” in either written form or in VR was presented to students (N = 151). After being exposed to the scenario, the participants answered various questions, including the personality questionnaire HEXACO, self-reported offending, self-reported victimization, presence and intention to aggress. The results show indeed a significant relation between the two personality dimensions honesty-humility and agreeableness and the intention to aggress. Self-reported victimization reinforced the relationship between a high honesty-humility and intention to aggress. In addition, there were significant differences between the two conditions in terms of stronger feelings towards presence. To combine the aspects of this study, presence negatively moderated between participants’ personality traits and their intention to aggress. Finally, practical implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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