Animalistic descriptions of violent crimes increase punishment of perpetrators

August 4, 2014

Describing criminals and criminal activities with animal metaphors leads to more retaliation against perpetrators by inducing the perception that they're likely to continue engaging in violence, a new Aggressive Behavior study suggests.

When surveying jury?eligible adults, investigators varied animalistic descriptions of a and examined its effect on the severity of the punishment for the act. Compared with non?animalistic descriptions, animalistic descriptions resulted in significantly harsher punishment for the perpetrator due to an increase in perceived risk of recidivism.

"This research is yet another reminder that justice may be influenced by more than the facts of a case," said lead author Dr. Eduardo Vasquez.

Explore further: When battered women fight back stereotyping can kick in

More information: Vasquez, E. A., Loughnan, S., Gootjes-Dreesbach, E. and Weger, U. (2014), The animal in you: Animalistic descriptions of a violent crime increase punishment of perpetrator. Aggr. Behav., 40: 337-344. DOI: 10.1002/ab.21525

Related Stories

When battered women fight back stereotyping can kick in

September 12, 2012
The topic of domestic abuse remains a controversial issue when it comes to determining punishment for battered women who use violence towards their partner. According to a recent study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, ...

Violent videogames linked to risk of crime, alcohol abuse

August 4, 2014
Violent videogames glorifying antisocial characters could increase teenage gamers' risk of criminal and other risky behavior like smoking and alcohol use, a US study said Monday.

More research needed on ways to reduce violence against women

June 26, 2014
Whilst there are a range of good practices in criminal justice responses to violence against women, there is limited evidence when it comes to effective interventions to reduce reoffending by perpetrators, a literature review ...

Recommended for you

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

New study suggests that reduced insurance coverage for mental health treatment increases costs for the seriously ill

July 19, 2017
Higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of acute and involuntary mental health care among those suffering from the most debilitating disorders, a Harvard ...

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

Wonder why those happy memories fade? You're programmed that way

July 19, 2017
We'll always have Paris." Or will we?

A child's spoken vocabulary helps them when it comes to reading new words for the first time

July 19, 2017
Children find it easier to spell a word when they've already heard it spoken, a new study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University has found. The findings ...

Individualistic practices and values increasing around the world

July 18, 2017
Individualism is thought to be on the rise in Western countries, but new research suggests that increasing individualism may actually be a global phenomenon. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.