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Showing posts with label Victim Blaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victim Blaming. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

I like it because it hurts you: On the association of everyday sadism, sadistic pleasure, and victim blaming.

Sassenrath, C., et al. (2024).
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
126(1), 105–127.


Past research on determinants of victim blaming mainly concentrated on individuals’ just-world beliefs as motivational process underlying this harsh reaction to others’ suffering. The present work provides novel insights regarding underlying affective processes by showing how individuals prone to derive pleasure from others’ suffering—individuals high in everyday sadism—engage in victim blaming due to increased sadistic pleasure and reduced empathic concern they experience. Results of three cross-sectional studies and one ambulatory assessment study applying online experience sampling method (ESM; overall N = 2,653) document this association. Importantly, the relation emerged over and above the honesty–humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness personality model (Study 1a), and other so-called dark traits (Study 1b), across different cultural backgrounds (Study 1c), and also when sampling from a population of individuals frequently confronted with victim–perpetrator constellations: police officers (Study 1d). Studies 2 and 3 highlight a significant behavioral correlate of victim blaming. Everyday sadism is related to reduced willingness to engage in effortful cognitive activity as individuals high (vs. low) in everyday sadism recall less information regarding victim–perpetrator constellations of sexual assault. Results obtained in the ESM study (Study 4) indicate that the relation of everyday sadism, sadistic pleasure, and victim blaming holds in everyday life and is not significantly moderated by interpersonal closeness to the blamed victim or impactfulness of the incident. Overall, the present article extends our understanding of what determines innocent victims’ derogation and highlights emotional mechanisms, societal relevance, and generalizability of the observed associations beyond the laboratory.

The research discusses the phenomenon of victim blaming - the tendency to blame innocent victims for their misfortunes - and explores the role of everyday sadism as a potential determinant. The key points are:
  1. Victim blaming is a prevalent reaction when confronted with others' suffering, often explained by the belief in a just world where people get what they deserve. 
  2. However, recent research has challenged just-world explanations, suggesting emotional reactions play a role in victim blaming. 
  3. The text proposes that individuals high in everyday sadism - the tendency to derive pleasure from others' suffering - are more likely to engage in victim blaming due to experiencing sadistic pleasure and lacking empathic concern. 
  4. Everyday sadism is distinct from other "dark" personality traits like psychopathy and is uniquely associated with dehumanization, moral disengagement, and aggressive behavior. 
  5. The research aims to establish the link between everyday sadism and victim blaming across various contexts, including non-Western samples, and explore its association with reduced willingness to help victims. 
  6. Multiple cross-sectional and experience sampling studies are reported to investigate these hypotheses while controlling for just-world beliefs and other relevant factors. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Free to blame? Belief in free will is related to victim blaming

Genschow, O., & Vehlow, B.
Consciousness and Cognition
Volume 88, February 2021, 103074


The more people believe in free will, the harsher their punishment of criminal offenders. A reason for this finding is that belief in free will leads individuals to perceive others as responsible for their behavior. While research supporting this notion has mainly focused on criminal offenders, the perspective of the victims has been neglected so far. We filled this gap and hypothesized that individuals’ belief in free will is positively correlated with victim blaming—the tendency to make victims responsible for their bad luck. In three studies, we found that the more individuals believe in free will, the more they blame victims. Study 3 revealed that belief in free will is correlated with victim blaming even when controlling for just world beliefs, religious worldviews, and political ideology. The results contribute to a more differentiated view of the role of free will beliefs and attributed intentions.


• Past research indicated that belief in free will increases the perception of criminal offenders.

• However, this research ignored the perception of the victims.

• We filled this gap by conducting three studies.

• All studies find that belief in free will correlates with the tendency to blame victims.

From the Discussion

In the last couple of decades, claims that free will is nothing more than an illusion have become prevalent in the popular press (e.g., Chivers 2010; Griffin, 2016; Wolfe, 1997).  Based on such claims, scholars across disciplines started debating potential societal consequences for the case that people would start disbelieving in free will. For example, some philosophers argued that disbelief in free will would have catastrophic consequences, because people would no longer try to control their behavior and start acting immorally (e.g., Smilansky, 2000, 2002). Likewise, psychological research has mainly focused on the
downsides of disbelief in free will. For example, weakening free will belief led participants to behave less morally and responsibly (Baumeister et al., 2009; Protzko et al., 2016; Vohs & Schooler, 2008). In contrast to these results, our findings illustrate a more positive side of disbelief in free will, as higher levels of disbelief in free will would reduce victim blaming. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Beyond Blaming the Victim: Toward a More Progressive Understanding of Workplace Mistreatment

Lilia M. Cortina, VerĂ³nica Caridad Rabelo, & Kathryn J. Holland
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Published online: 21 November 2017

Theories of human aggression can inform research, policy, and practice in organizations. One such theory, victim precipitation, originated in the field of criminology. According to this perspective, some victims invite abuse through their personalities, styles of speech or dress, actions, and even their inactions. That is, they are partly at fault for the wrongdoing of others. This notion is gaining purchase in industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology as an explanation for workplace mistreatment. The first half of our article provides an overview and critique of the victim precipitation hypothesis. After tracing its history, we review the flaws of victim precipitation as catalogued by scientists and practitioners over several decades. We also consider real-world implications of victim precipitation thinking, such as the exoneration of violent criminals. Confident that I-O can do better, the second half of this article highlights alternative frameworks for researching and redressing hostile work behavior. In addition, we discuss a broad analytic paradigm—perpetrator predation—as a way to understand workplace abuse without blaming the abused. We take the position that these alternative perspectives offer stronger, more practical, and more progressive explanations for workplace mistreatment. Victim precipitation, we conclude, is an archaic ideology. Criminologists have long since abandoned it, and so should we.

The article is here.