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On being angry and punitive: How anger alters perception of criminal intent

Ask, Karl, Pina, Afroditi (2011) On being angry and punitive: How anger alters perception of criminal intent. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2 (5). pp. 494-499. ISSN 1948-5506. (doi:10.1177/1948550611398415) (KAR id:37021)


Previous research has demonstrated that anger increases the tendency to blame and punish others for harmful behaviors. This study investigated whether such attributions extend to judgments of criminal intent, and it examined the mechanisms by which anger influences punitiveness. In an experiment, angry, sad, and neutral participants read about an ambiguously criminal behavior. As hypothesized, angry participants judged the behavior as being more intentional and the perpetrator as having more causal control than did neutral participants, and they were more willing to punish the wrongdoer. Sadness did not have a demonstrable effect on judgments, indicating a specific role of anger rather than a general negative affect. Moreover, the effect of anger on punitiveness was mediated by perceived criminal intent but not by perceived causal control. Implications for legal judgments and theories of blame attribution are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1948550611398415
Uncontrolled keywords: Anger, Attribution, Blame, Criminal intent, Emotion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Afroditi Pina
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2013 14:04 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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