Psychological causality in the attribution of responsibility for rape

Richard L. Wiener, Nora Rinehart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


According to a legal model of the attribution of responsibility for rape, judgments of physical and psychological causality of an alleged rapist are combined into overall evaluations of attacker responsibility. It was hypothesized that observers evaluate psychological causality by reconstructing the thought patterns of the accused rapist and by classifying this mental activity along dimensions of responsibility. Subjects read crime briefs, rated dimensions of responsibility, and assigned sentences. Factor analysis and analyses of variance indicate that observers organize psychological causality of the rapist around dimensions of intended violence, and the extent to which the attacker's thoughts are attributable to the victim. Multivariate analysis of variance confirmed the expected effects of the attacker's thoughts on judgments of culpability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-382
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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