skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 70890 Find in a Library
Title: Seriousness of Offenses - An Experimental Study Based on a Psychophysical Scaling Technique
Journal: Criminology  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:(August 1980)  Pages:237-244
Author(s): T O Kvalseth
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In this study, a group of Norwegian students judged the seriousness of a set of offenses based on the magnitude estimation technique of psychophysics.
Abstract: Since the magnitude estimation method was first advanced as a procedure for scaling intensities of various types of sensory stimuli, this method has been used in different behavioral science areas including criminology. The present study is a replication of two previous studies made in Canada and the United States. In addition to assessing the influence that social and cultural differences have on attitudes toward delinquent acts, the study analyzed and quantified the relationship between the judged seriousness of thefts and the amount of money stolen and between the judged seriousness of tax evasion and the amount of money involved. Subjects were male university students in Norway ranging in age from 20 to 29 years. Each was given a booklet which identified 25 offenses; subjects made 2 separate judgments of the seriousness of each of the 25 offenses, which were identical to those considered in the U.S. and Canadian studies. Results of the Norwegian study showed that crimes against persons were judged to be the most serious acts, especially those involving bodily assault. In spite of social and cultural differences, judgments on the gravity of delinquent acts showed a high degree of association between the present study and the Canadian and U.S. studies. However, some clear differences did emerge. In general, any change in the judgment of offense seriousness by the Norwegian subjects exceeded the corresponding changes perceived by the Canadian and U.S. subjects. A table, two diagrams, and six references are included.
Index Term(s): Canada; Comparative analysis; Crime seriousness measures; Cultural influences; Norway; Offense classification; United States of America
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.