How bad was it? The effects of victim and perpetrator emotion on responses to criminal court vignettes


Journal Article

Affect control theory is a general model of how emotions, identities and actions are related in social interaction. In this study, we used affect control theory to predict how the emotions displayed by a perpetrator and a victim during their criminal trial statements influence a juror's judgments about their identities. We then asked how these identity judgments about the perpetrator and victim affect the recommended sentence for the perpetrator. An experiment used undergraduates' reactions in a mock jury setting to test the theory's predictions. Maximum likelihood structural equation models show the influence of both criminal and victim emotion displays in affecting identity inferences about the participants in the crime scene. These identity inferences, as well as inferences about the severity of the criminal behavior itself, determine the sentence recommended for the perpetrator, supporting affect control theory.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tsoudis, O; Smith-Lovin, L

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 695 - 722

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0037-7732

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/sf/77.2.695

Citation Source

  • Scopus