Journal of Psychology and Cognition

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Research Article - Journal of Psychology and Cognition (2019) Volume 4, Issue 2

Judging the levels of violence: Factors that influence assessment of severity of violent acts and their consequences.

To what extent do people vary in their judgment of the severity of violent acts and their consequences? The present study investigates this in two experiments (total N=2490, US & UK adult sample) in which participants were presented with several tasks (Rating task, Ranking task, Financial compensation task) designed to assess consistent patterns in judgments of the severity of violent acts. As age and educational level increased so did judged severity of violent acts. However, overall ordering of the violent acts from least to most violent was the same across both experiments. Severity ratings were lower in the US compared with the UK sample (study 1), but compensation requests were on average higher in the US (M=$160,235) compared with the UK sample (M=$16,160) (Study 2). Moreover, as details of the consequences of the violent acts increased, so did compensation requests (Study 2). We conclude that the absolute ordering of violent acts by severity remains the same irrespective of individual differences. Individual differences account for differences in the judged degree of severity of violence, and in particular cultural factors influences the amount of financial compensation requested.

Author(s): Osman Magda*

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