Attribution of crime motives biases eyewitnesses' memory and sentencing decisions

Autor(en): Hellmann, Deborah F.
Memon, Amina
Stichwörter: attribution; CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS; COGNITIVE INTERVIEW; crime motives; Criminology & Penology; CURRENT ISSUES; eyewitness memory; Government & Law; INFORMATION; JUDGMENTS; Law; MISINFORMATION; Misinformation effect; mock-jurors; PRIOR KNOWLEDGE; Psychology; Psychology, Multidisciplinary; PUNISHMENT; RESPONSIBILITY; SCHEMATA; sentencing
Erscheinungsdatum: 2016
Herausgeber: ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Journal: PSYCHOLOGY CRIME & LAW
Volumen: 22
Ausgabe: 10
Startseite: 957
Seitenende: 976
Zusammenfassung: 
In court, the basic expectation is that eyewitness accounts are solely based on what the witness saw. Research on post-event influences has shown that this is not always the case and memory distortions are quite common. However, potential effects of an eyewitness' attributions regarding a perpetrator's crime motives have been widely neglected in this domain. In this paper, we present two experiments (N=209) in which eyewitnesses were led to conclude that a perpetrator's motives for a crime were either dispositional or situational. As expected, misinformation consistent with an eyewitness' attribution of crime motives was typically falsely recognised as true whereas inconsistent misinformation was correctly rejected. Furthermore, a dispositional vs. situational attribution of crime motives resulted in more severe (mock) sentencing supporting previous research. The findings are discussed in the context of schema-consistent biases and the effect of attributions about character in a legal setting.
ISSN: 1068316X
DOI: 10.1080/1068316X.2016.1207768

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