This research was facilitated by a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research award to the second author.
Observers' benefit finding for victims: Consequences for perceived moral obligations
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 2, pages 241–253, March 2011
How to Cite
Warner, R. H. and Branscombe, N. R. (2011), Observers' benefit finding for victims: Consequences for perceived moral obligations. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 41: 241–253. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.772
- Issue published online: 21 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 AUG 2010
- Manuscript Received: 25 FEB 2010
In three studies we examined how observers making meaning of victimization by finding benefits for the victim leads to the perception that victims are morally obligated to help others and not do harm. In Experiment 1, participants perceived a victim as having greater moral obligations when the meaning of victimization was considered for the victim rather than the perpetrator. This effect on moral obligations was mediated by the extent to which participants believed victims should have found benefits. Experiments 2 and 3 examined the consequences when victims fail or fulfill their moral obligations. Greater social distance from a victim who did harm was sought when participants focused on the meaning of victimization for the victim as compared to the perpetrator. Less social distance from a victim who helped was sought when participants focused on the meaning of victimization for the victim as compared to the perpetrator or when they made no meaning. These studies show that how observers make meaning of victimization has implications for subsequent responses to victims. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.