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The effect of denial of the victim arguments on the attribution of blame to the suspect during a simulated investigative interview in a control and coercion context

Schmuck, A. (2021) The effect of denial of the victim arguments on the attribution of blame to the suspect during a simulated investigative interview in a control and coercion context.

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Abstract:To avoid prosecution, suspects try to manipulate others using influencing behaviours. Often used is the justification technique Denial of the victim (DoV). It involves claims that the victim deserved any negative behaviour from the suspect due to their own provocations or faulty character. DoV arguments are expected to shift attributions of blame from the suspect. This proposal was tested and whether DoV arguments are more effective or not depending on whether the suspect's accusations against the victim are accurate or not. It was also tested if DoV affects judgements of suspect guilt, the severity of punishment, and empathy and sympathy towards the suspect. Additional exploratory analyses were conducted to test whether ambivalent sexist views or a belief in a just world moderate any relationships between the independent and dependent variables. Participants (N = 194) completed an online experiment in which they were presented a case description of a control and coercion offence that indicated that the alleged victim either engaged in negative behaviour (infidelity), did not engage in negative behaviour, or where no information about the victim's past behaviour was provided. They were further given a script of an investigative interview with the alleged suspect. The suspect interview behaviour was manipulated as the suspect responded with either DoV arguments or No comment. Results showed that DoV arguments did not affect the attribution of blame to the suspect, nor the perceived empathy and sympathy the recipients have towards the suspect. DoV did also not affect guilt judgements. Participants recommended stronger punishment when the suspect's accusations about the victim are false. It was concluded that DoV arguments are not effective in shifting blame from the suspect. Keywords: control and coercion, attribution theory, investigative interviewing, influence behaviours, suspect behaviours, denial of victim
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/88143
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