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Expectancy violation and perceptions of rape victim credibility

journal contribution
posted on 2008-09-01, 00:00 authored by L Hackett, Andrew Day, P Mohr
Purpose. Rape victims have been found to have a heightened risk of secondary victimization in the legal system through biased perceptions of their credibility. In this study, participants observed a video of a rape victim reporting the crime and evaluated her credibility, to establish the influence of victim emotional expressiveness on evaluations of victim credibility. Methods. The nonverbal (eye-contact, crying) and paralinguistic (tone of voice) behaviour of the rape victim was manipulated such that the emotional presentation viewed by observers was either expressive, or not expressive. One hundred and thirty seven participants were randomly allocated to observe a videotape of either an expressive or a non-expressive victim. Participants' specific expectations about the emotional expressiveness of rape victims in general were also measured. Results. Results revealed no significant main effect of emotional expressiveness on perceptions of credibility. However, among participants with a strong expectation of emotional expressiveness, a rape victim who was emotionally expressive was perceived to be significantly more credible than a victim who was not emotionally expressive. Conclusions. It appears to be expectancy violation rather than emotional expressiveness per se that biases observers' perceptions of rape victim credibility.

History

Journal

Legal and criminological psychology

Volume

13

Issue

2

Pagination

323 - 334

Publisher

British Psychological Society

Location

Leicester, England

ISSN

1355-3259

eISSN

2044-8333

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, The British Psychological Society

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