Event Title

Morality and Blame Conformity

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 3:55 PM

Project Type

Poster

Description

In the legal system, eyewitness testimonies play an important role in determining the outcomes of legal proceedings. However, memory is malleable and therefore has implications on the accuracy of eyewitness accounts. Memory can be altered by seemingly irrelevant factors such as the moral behavior of an agent. Additionally, memory conformity, which refers to the fact that a persons memory can be distorted due to social influence, often occurs due to eyewitness statements. Similar to memory conformity, blame conformity refers to the observation that a person can change the level of blame they attribute to an individual based on eyewitness statements. Our research examined the relationship between blame conformity and moral behavior in a two-person accident. We wanted to discover whether the moral behavior of an agent in conjunction with a eyewitness statement attributing blame to one individual would impact the level of blame a third party would attribute to the individuals involved in an accident. We predicted that when a person is labeled as morally good, people would attribute less blame to them, especially when an eyewitness blames the other person involved in the accident. Additionally, we expected that when someone is labeled as morally bad, people would attribute more blame to that person, and the level of blame would increase when the eyewitness also blames the morally bad individual for the accident. Finally, we examined whether memory is influenced by the manipulation of moral behavior. We believe that these results will offer more knowledge to those involved in legal proceedings that rely heavily on eyewitness statements.

Faculty Sponsor

Travis Carter

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Psychology Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1160

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Apr 30th, 2:00 PM Apr 30th, 3:55 PM

Morality and Blame Conformity

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

In the legal system, eyewitness testimonies play an important role in determining the outcomes of legal proceedings. However, memory is malleable and therefore has implications on the accuracy of eyewitness accounts. Memory can be altered by seemingly irrelevant factors such as the moral behavior of an agent. Additionally, memory conformity, which refers to the fact that a persons memory can be distorted due to social influence, often occurs due to eyewitness statements. Similar to memory conformity, blame conformity refers to the observation that a person can change the level of blame they attribute to an individual based on eyewitness statements. Our research examined the relationship between blame conformity and moral behavior in a two-person accident. We wanted to discover whether the moral behavior of an agent in conjunction with a eyewitness statement attributing blame to one individual would impact the level of blame a third party would attribute to the individuals involved in an accident. We predicted that when a person is labeled as morally good, people would attribute less blame to them, especially when an eyewitness blames the other person involved in the accident. Additionally, we expected that when someone is labeled as morally bad, people would attribute more blame to that person, and the level of blame would increase when the eyewitness also blames the morally bad individual for the accident. Finally, we examined whether memory is influenced by the manipulation of moral behavior. We believe that these results will offer more knowledge to those involved in legal proceedings that rely heavily on eyewitness statements.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/49