Expectancy violation and perceptions of rape victim credibility

Hackett, Louisa, Day, Andrew, and Mohr, Philip (2008) Expectancy violation and perceptions of rape victim credibility. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 13 (2). pp. 323-334.

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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.

Item ID: 47160
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2044-8333
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 07:50
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice @ 100%
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