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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75009 Find in a Library
Title: Experimental Research on Social Perceptions of Rape Victims - A Review and Critique
Author(s): J Luginbuhl; J T Frederick
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
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Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Experimental research on two models of social perceptions of rape -- the naive observer model and the jury process model -- is reviewed.
Abstract: The naive observer model is concerned with the ways in which average persons perceive rape victims and in which the rape victim's characteristics and behavior affect these perceptions. The jury process model investigates ways in which members of juries are affected by these factors and how their perceptions are translated into a trial verdict. While the naive observer model focuses on the reactions of private citizens as individuals, the jury process model is concerned with major social and legal issues. Research conducted using the naive observer model assume that a rape actually occurred, that no attempt is to be made to simulate a jury or court setting, that no defendant or considerations of defendant guilt or innocence are present, and that the purpose of the study is to manipulate victim characteristics, rape situation factors, and social perceptions. The jury process model research setting simulates court conditions as closely as possible, including selection of subjects as similar to real jurors as possible and provision of extensive testimony, witnesses, cross examination, and judicial instruction. Juror subjects decide on defendant guilt or innocence through deliberation. In research using this model, the same variables used in naive observer studies are manipulated; however, verdicts reached in different situations are compared rather than social perceptions. In many cases, the elements of both models are combined in the same research design. When this type of format is used, subjects often become confused by requirements that they fulfill two roles. Also, the stimuli governing the perceptions of the subjects becomes unclear. Another common problem of research on social perceptions of rape victims is a lack of standardization in the dependent variables measured in these experiments. Notes and 13 references are included.
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Jury decisionmaking; Models; Rape; Research; Self concept; Sexual assault victims
Note: Paper based on a presentation at the 1978 APA (American Psychological Association) Convention in Toronto (Canada).
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