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NCJ Number: 64541 Find in a Library
Title: DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY IN CRIME, PUNISHMENT, AND OTHER ADVERSITY
Journal: LAW AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(1978)  Pages:313-322
Author(s): R S FELDMAN; F P ROSEN
Corporate Author: Plenum Publishing Corp
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Publishing Corp
New York, NY 10013-1576
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THREE RESEARCH STUDIES TESTED THE HYPOTHESIS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL ACTING ALONE WOULD BE HELD MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR BEHAVIOR LEADING TO A NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCE THAN AN INDIVIDUAL GROUP MEMBER.
Abstract: IN ONE STUDY, 240 SUBJECTS READ SCENARIOS OF AN EVENT WITH A NEGATIVE OUTCOME INVOLVING ONE, TWO, THREE, OR FOUR INDIVIDUALS. AS PREDICTED, THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT INVERSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS AND THE DEGREE OF ATTRIBUTED RESPONSIBILITY. THE SECOND STUDY INVESTIGATED SUBJECTS' ATTRIBUTIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR CRIMINALS COMMITTING A CRIME ALONE OR WITH A PARTNER, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE IN SENTENCE LENGTH ASSIGNED. IN THE THIRD ARCHIVAL-TYPE STUDY, PRISON SENTENCES FOR CRIMINALS WHO HAD ACTUALLY COMMITTED A ROBBERY ALONE OR WITH OTHERS WERE EXAMINED. AGAIN, THERE WAS DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY: CRIMINALS ACTING ALONE RECEIVED SIGNIFICANTLY LONGER SENTENCES THAN PERPETRATORS WHO HAD COMMITTED A SIMILAR CRIME, BUT WHO HAD ACTED WITH OTHERS. IN ALL THREE STUDIES, THE RESULTS INDICATED THE PHENOMENON OF A GROUP'S DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY; AN INDIVIDUAL IN A GROUP SHARES IN THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OUTCOMES THAT THE GROUP OBTAINS, WHILE PERSONS ACTING ALONE ARE VIEWED AS HAVING A RELATIVELY GREATER DEGREE OF CULPABILITY FOR THE EVENTUAL OUTCOMES OF THEIR ACTIONS. A LIST OF REFERENCES IS GIVEN. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--MJW)
Index Term(s): Criminal responsibility; Group behavior; Individual behavior; Offenders; Social psychology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64541

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