Sunday, September 19, 2010

Private Investigator News: Study: Multiple toxic victims receive less empathy than one

An examination of jury verdicts over the past decade involving people charged for exposing others to toxic substances, has revealed that the more victims are involved in a case, the less harshly the perpetrator of the crime is penalized.
NZ6720 : Saltburn Gill by Mick Garratt
Saltburn Gill
  © Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The study, which also included two experiments in the lab, is the first to show that the bias toward feeling empathy for a single individual versus many — known as the identifiable victim bias — causes people to make judgments based on emotion that are disproportionate to the severity of a crime.
“The inspiration for the study was the observation that we tend to focus an extraordinary amount of attention and resources to crimes that have a really small number of victims, and have a harder time remaining engaged to larger scale kinds of crime,” said psychologist Loran Nordgren of Northwestern University, lead author of the paper Aug. 25 in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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