Reactions to a motor-vehicle accident in relation to mitigating circumstances and the gender and moral worth of the driver

Norman T. Feather, Nicholas H. Deverson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Male and female students (N = 153) at the Flinders University of South Australia read scenarios describing a motor-vehicle accident that varied mitigating circumstances (driving on a slippery road vs. driving at high speed), gender of driver, and the moral worth of the driver (very dependable and trustworthy vs. not dependable and a bit untrustworthy). Results showed that mitigation affected judgments about the driver's responsibility, seriousness of the offense, driver's deservingness of penalty imposed, harshness of penalty, positive affect about the penalty, and sympathy for the driver, consistent with a social cognitive process model (Feather, 1996c, 1998). Moral worth affected judgments about the driver's moral character, harshness of penalty, and liking and sympathy for the driver. Participants attributed higher moral character to the female driver and also reported more liking for the female driver. There was some limited evidence for an in-group gender bias.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-95
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
    Volume30
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000

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