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The Impact of Denial of the Victim and Denial of Responsibility on the Interviewer's Attributions of Blame and Perceived Seriousness of the Crime in a Sexual Assault Case

De Simone, M. (2021) The Impact of Denial of the Victim and Denial of Responsibility on the Interviewer's Attributions of Blame and Perceived Seriousness of the Crime in a Sexual Assault Case.

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Abstract:The aim of this study was to investigate whether suspect behaviours Denial of the Victim and Denial of Responsibility would affect the judging process of an individual, specifically taking into consideration their attributions of blame and perceived seriousness of a crime. Further, it was tested whether holding ambivalent sexist beliefs could moderate the effect of these suspect behaviours. It was hypothesised that suspect behaviours’ effectiveness would be reinforced when ambivalent sexist thoughts were high. These claims were tested by using a between-participant design in a sample made of 97 participants, who completed an online experiment. After data analysis, the results revealed that denial of the victim arguments were effective in increasing attributions of blame to the victim, although they did not reduce attributions of blame to the suspect. Moderation analyses showed that denial of responsibility arguments did not influence respondents’ attribution of blame to the suspect when they scored low on hostile sexism. Further, denial of the victim arguments did not influence participants’ perceived crime seriousness when the latter was high and when they scored low on benevolent sexism. In general, this study revealed that suspect behaviours had an impact on individuals’ judgment of the crime, and that ambivalent sexism can alter this relationship. More precisely, suspect behaviours did affect attributions of blame, although not altering perceived seriousness as much. Indeed, findings showed that people generally perceived sexual assault as a serious crime. Hence, it would be interesting to examine what the results would be with a less serious crime, or by switching the gender of the victim and the suspect. These findings can be used to expand current literature and provide a framework for acknowledging suspect influence behaviours when portrayed in interviews, with a focus on the crime of sexual assault.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/86592
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