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REACTIONS TO VICTIMS OF CRIME: SYMPATHY, DEFENSIVE ATTRIBUTION, AND THE JUST WORLD

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Abstract:

Two studies were conducted that explored observers' perceptions of the responsibility of a victim for her involvement in a premeditated crime. Male and female college students listened to tapes of a purported victim describing a crime (either a rape or a mugging). Severity of crime was manipulated by having some of the crimes described as unsuccessful attempts and others as successful ones. There was a general tendency toward what we have called a sympathetic reaction pattern, that is, for victims to be assigned less responsibility the more severe the crime. This effect was strongest among those individuals who believed they had a low probability of encountering a fate similar to that of the victim. Those individuals who believed they had a high probability of encountering a fate similar to the victim's tended to make defensive attributions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1977.5.2.295

Publication date: January 1, 1977

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