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System justification theory suggests that people tend to view authority figures as credible and dependable (Jost, Tyler, & Van der Toorn 2011). Individuals also tend to hold those who commit unsanctioned violence or exhibit criminal behavior in disdain. This study was designed to examine how these tendencies relate to people's perceptions of situations involving authority figures, vigilantism and violence. Two hypotheses were tested: that the victim of such an interrogation will be viewed less favorably and the attacker more favorably in cases where a low status victim is interrogated by an off-duty police officer, and that the victim will be viewed more favorably and the attacker less favorably in cases where a high status victim is interrogated by a vigilante. Participants' evaluations of characteristics of aggression, credibility, criminality and guilt were measured as they applied to police officers, vigilantes and suspected criminals.
Dario Norman Rodriguez
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
"Perceptions of Violence" (2018). Stander Symposium Posters. 1147.