Blame Conformity: Leading Eyewitness Statements Can Influence Attributions of Blame for an Accident

Craig Thorley, Jayne Rushton-Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present experiment examined whether attributions of blame for an incident can be shifted between individuals as a result of a leading eyewitness statement. Participants watched a video of an accident involving two men and then read either a non-leading eyewitness statement that blamed no one for the accident or a leading eyewitness statement that blamed one of the two men for the accident. Participants’ attributions of blame for the accident were then assessed either immediately or after a 1 week delay. Regardless of the time delay, just over one-third of participants who read a leading statement subsequently blamed the same person as the eyewitness. In contrast, less than 4% of participants who read a non-leading statement blamed one of the men. This research is the first to demonstrate blame conformity, where blame for an incident can be shifted between individuals as a result of a leading eyewitness statement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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