Observers reactions to victim impact statements: A preliminary study into the affective and cognitive responses

K.M.E. Lens, J. van Doorn, A. Lahlah, A. Pemberton, S. Bogaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research has shown that expectancy violations can have both affective and cognitive consequences. In particular, recent victimological research argues that people’s perceptions and judgments of victims are negatively influenced when their expectations of the victim’s emotional behavior are violated. That is, expectancy violation may lead to secondary victimization: victims may be judged to be less credible, suffer higher levels of victim derogation, and receive less sympathy as a result of expectancy violation. In this study, we elaborate upon these affective consequences and examine possible cognitive consequences of expectancy violation in victimological research. We found preliminary evidence for secondary victimization in both affective and cognitive domains: when evaluated by student observers, victims of ‘mildly’ severe crimes who delivered an emotional victim impact statement not only ran the risk of being evaluated as less credible than victims of more severe crimes who delivered the exact same victim impact statement, but their victim impact statement was also remembered less accurately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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