Evaluation of a rapist as a function of expressed intent and remorse

J Soc Psychol. 1992 Aug;132(4):525-37. doi: 10.1080/00224545.1992.9924732.


Two studies were conducted to examine the effects of expressed versus denied intent and remorse on evaluation of a rapist. In both studies, the rapist was evaluated more negatively and was assigned a longer prison sentence when expressing rather than denying intent. The rapist received more favorable evaluations when expressing rather than denying remorse. Manipulation of the rapist's expressed remorse did not significantly affect the recommended prison sentence. However, the recommended prison sentence did correlate significantly with participants' perceptions of the rapist's remorse. A multiple regression analysis indicated that recommended prison sentence could be best predicted by attributions of cause, intent, and remorse. The results were related to a growing body of research on accounting strategies, responsibility, and excuse making.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Denial, Psychological
  • Female
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Social Responsibility*