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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica
On-line version ISSN 1678-7153
RODRIGUES, Aroldo and ASSMAR, Eveline Maria Leal. Social influence, attribution of causality, and judgments of responsibility and justice. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2003, vol.16, n.1, pp. 191-201. ISSN 1678-7153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-79722003000100020.
Previous studies have convincingly demonstrated that transgressional behavior caused by social influence based on reward, informational and referent power is perceived as more internal and more controllable, and the perpetrator seen as more responsible, than similar behavior caused by the use of expert, legitimate or coercive power. This research replicates these studies, adds a methodological refinement by equalizing the strength of power bases, and investigates the effect of power bases on judgments of justice of the punishment applied to the transgression. Eighty four College students served as participants, randomly assigned to two experimental conditions (Good Outcome and Bad Outcome Conditions). The results replicated those found in previous studies and showed that severe punishment is considered more fair when the transgression results from power bases that lead to behavior perceived as more internal and more controllable. They are discussed in terms of their relevance to obedience, cognitive dissonance, criminal behavior, and retributive justice.
Keywords : Social influence; attribution of causality; responsibility; justice; forced compliance.