Retributive versus compensatory justice: Observers' preference for punishing in response to criminal offenders

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    In the current paper, the author examines whether independent observers of criminal offenses have a relative preference for either retributive justice (i.e., punishing the offender) or compensatory justice (i.e., compensating the victim for the harm done). In Study 1, results revealed that participants recommended higher sums ofmoney if a financial transaction was framed as offender punishment (i.e., the offender would pay money to the victim) than if it was framed as victim compensation (i.e., the victim would receive money from the offender). In Study 2, participants were asked to gather information about court trials following three severe offenses to evaluate whether justice had been done in these cases. Results revealed that participants gathered more information about offender punishment than about victim compensation. In Study 3 these findings were extended by investigating whether observers' relative preference for punishing is moderated by emotional proximity to the victim. Results revealed that the relative preference for punishing only occurred among participants who did not experience emotional proximity to the victim. It is concluded that observers prefer retributive over compensatory justice, provided that they do not feel emotionally close to the victim. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-85
    Number of pages13
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
    Volume40
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Retributive versus compensatory justice: Observers' preference for punishing in response to criminal offenders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this