The Effect of a Choice Mindset on Perceptions of Domestic Violence

Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Winquist

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Arts and Sciences



Document Type

Poster Presentation


Fall 10-28-2016


This study explored the effect of the priming of choice on perceptions of domestic violence. The hypothesis was that people who were primed with choice would be more likely to blame the victims of domestic violence who killed their abusers than those who were not primed. The experimental and control groups were shown the same brief video clip. The experimental group (n = 18) counted choices that the character made while the control group (n = 18) counted the objects that were touched. Afterwards, all participants were given a questionnaire assessing their perceptions of 4 domestic violence scenarios. The questions inquired how justified the victim was in the murder, whether or not they were guilty, the confidence of the participants in their decisions, and the type of punishment they would impose. The results supported our hypothesis. People who were primed with choice believed the victim was less justified in their retaliation, they were more confident in their decision of guilt, and they imposed harsher penalties on the victim as opposed to those in the control group. All effect sizes were large (d > 1). This suggests that a choice mindset can influence how accountable people hold victims of domestic violence.

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