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The Role of Perpetrator Similarity in Reactions toward Innocent Victims

By M. Bal


Following and extending just world theory, this paper studies people’s negative reactions toward innocent victims. Specifically, in our research we focus on a new factor, that may explain these reactions, namely perpetrator similarity. This refers to whether a perpetrator belongs to the personal world of an observer or not. Results reveal that people blame an innocent victim more (Study 1), derogate an innocent victim more (Study 2), and take more physical distance from an innocent victim (Study 3), when the perpetrator is similar to the observer as opposed to when the perpetrator is different from the observer. This effect is especially evident among men

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, just world belief, perpetrator similarity, blaming, derogation, physical distancing
Year: 2008
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