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“If Only I Would Have…": How Counterfactual Thinking Affects Willingness to Report a Crime

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Abstract:

This paper presents two studies examining the influence of counterfactual thinking (CFT) and injury severity on victims’ decision to report crime. CFT occurs when people imagine that they could have prevented a negative outcome (e.g., “If only I’d taken a different route home, I wouldn’t have been mugged”). Injury severity is also manipulated to determine whether severity and CFT interact. Participants read a stimuli paragraph and imagined that they were mugged. A 2 (CFT absent/present) X 3 (low/medium/high monetary loss) ANOVA supported the hypothesis that CFT participants were significantly more likely to report a crime and felt angrier than participants in the CFT absent condition. CFT participants were more likely to believe the crime could have been prevented and that luck played a role in the crime. Results also indicate that severe monetary loss increased reporting and anger. There was no interaction between injury and CFT for reporting. However, CFT/high injury participants felt more foolish than other groups. A second study tests a different CFT manipulation and manipulates physical (rather than monetary) injury. This second study will expand and generalize the first study. These findings indicate that the psychological phenomenon of CFT affects perceptions of the crime and willingness to report.
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Name: American Society of Criminology
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http://www.asc41.com


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p32521_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Miller, Monica., Adya, Meera. and Chamberlain, Jared C.. "“If Only I Would Have…": How Counterfactual Thinking Affects Willingness to Report a Crime" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Royal York, Toronto, Nov 15, 2005 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p32521_index.html>

APA Citation:

Miller, M. , Adya, M. and Chamberlain, J. , 2005-11-15 "“If Only I Would Have…": How Counterfactual Thinking Affects Willingness to Report a Crime" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Royal York, Toronto <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p32521_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: This paper presents two studies examining the influence of counterfactual thinking (CFT) and injury severity on victims’ decision to report crime. CFT occurs when people imagine that they could have prevented a negative outcome (e.g., “If only I’d taken a different route home, I wouldn’t have been mugged”). Injury severity is also manipulated to determine whether severity and CFT interact. Participants read a stimuli paragraph and imagined that they were mugged. A 2 (CFT absent/present) X 3 (low/medium/high monetary loss) ANOVA supported the hypothesis that CFT participants were significantly more likely to report a crime and felt angrier than participants in the CFT absent condition. CFT participants were more likely to believe the crime could have been prevented and that luck played a role in the crime. Results also indicate that severe monetary loss increased reporting and anger. There was no interaction between injury and CFT for reporting. However, CFT/high injury participants felt more foolish than other groups. A second study tests a different CFT manipulation and manipulates physical (rather than monetary) injury. This second study will expand and generalize the first study. These findings indicate that the psychological phenomenon of CFT affects perceptions of the crime and willingness to report.

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