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Punishing the Perpetrator Decreases Compensation for Victims.
Social Psychological and Personality Science (2015)
  • Elizabeth Mullen, San Jose State University
  • Gabrielle S. Adams, London Business School
Why do victims sometimes not receive the help they need? One reason may be that people believe punishing perpetrators restores justice, which makes them less willing to help victims if the perpetrator has been punished. Participants who were first asked how much to punish a perpetrator subsequently recommended less compensation for the victim relative to participants who were asked about compensation first. In contrast, participants punished perpetrators to the same degree regardless of whether they were first asked about compensation (Study 1). These effects also held when a third party administered the initial response (Studies 2 and 3). Punishment increased people’s belief that justice had been restored, which decreased their desires for victim compensation (Study 3). Thus, the extent to which individuals are concerned about victims is influenced by whether they first consider perpetrator punishment. 
  • Justice,
  • Ethics/morality,
  • Helping/prosocial behavior,
  • Morality,
  • Social Justice,
  • Conflict resolution
Publication Date
January, 2015
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Elizabeth Mullen and Gabrielle S. Adams. "Punishing the Perpetrator Decreases Compensation for Victims." Social Psychological and Personality Science Vol. 6 Iss. 1 (2015) p. 31 - 38
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