Undergraduate Psychology Research Methods Journal


How social category affects observer perceptions of crime is an interesting topic that can yield many interesting results. Previous research has shown that the social category of individual can hold some influence on how the individual is perceived. Some studies focused on the dispositional qualities attributed to individuals solely based on social category, while other were more concerned with third-party responses to individuals based on social category. Within that same line, this study hoped to replicate findings by Lieberman and Linke (2007) which indicated that the social category of a perpetrator of a crime did indeed have an effect on observer perceptions of that crime. Lieberman and Linke (2007) utilized a between-participants design, while the present study hoped to replicate those findings using a within-participants design. Two surveys were constructed presenting different crime scenarios with perpetrators of varying social-categories. Participants rated three measures relating to the crime such as: how morally wrong the crime was, how much punishment the perpetrator should receive, and how remorseful the perpetrator would be. Ultimately, there were no significant results in regards to social-category, or familiarity, of the perpetrator and crime ratings, but future lines of research are uncovered in relation to degree, or severity of crime committed.

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