Blame attribution as a moderator of perceptions of sexual orientation-based hate crimes.

University of Alabama, Box 870348, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence (Impact Factor: 1.64). 08/2009; 25(5):848-62. DOI: 10.1177/0886260509336962
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Blame attribution is a valuable mechanism explaining decision making. However, present literature mainly employs blame attribution as a dependent variable. The shortcoming of this fact is that blame attribution offers a potentially valuable explanatory mechanism for decision making. The authors designed two studies to investigate blame attribution as a moderator of sentencing decisions in sexual orientation-based hate crimes. Study 1 showed that mock jurors punished perpetrators of hate crimes more severely than a control condition. Also, degree of victim blame influenced punitive decision making. In Study 2, mock jurors extended findings that perpetrators of hate crimes are more harshly punished than those of other types of crimes. Victim and perpetrator blame failed to moderate decision making in this more complex scenario. Results are discussed in relation to hate crimes definitions and attribution theory.

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