Collection 2005


Written by Smaranda BOROS, Anca MATEUCA, Mihaela MATUS on . Posted in Volume IX, Nr. 1


Starting from Greenwald et al's (2002) balanced identity design, this paper sets forth to test in ecological settings a hypothesis connecting attributions to the self-concept, as this is defined in the above-mentioned model. The present study focuses on guilt attribution (to the victim or the rapist) in a rape assault, considering the level of the evaluator's similarity with either the victim or the aggressor. Three studies were conducted: two experimental and an ecological one. We conducted interviews with police officers and evaluated experimentally the manner of guilt attribution depending on (1) the victim's physical attractiveness and (2) the similarity between the evaluator and the victim or the aggressor. To this purpose, subjects were asked to read different rape scenarios and to complete afterwards a questionnaire (Attitudes Towards Rape). The scenarios were manipulated so as to reflect various degrees of similarity (regarding gender, age and socio-economical status) between the respondent and either the victim or the aggressor. This study attempts to explain a puzzling reality, that of the frequent blaming of the victims in a rape assault.

Keywords: balanced identity design, social identity theories, attribution, rape assault