On Mimicry and the Psychology of the Belief in a Just World: Imitating the Behaviors of Others Reduces the Blaming of Innocent Victims

Mariëlle Stel*, Kees van den Bos, Michèlle Bal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Innocent victims of crime are often blamed for what happened to them. In this article, we examine the hypothesis that victim blaming can be significantly reduced when people mimic the behavior of the victim or even a person unrelated to the crime. Participants watched a person on a video after which we assessed the extent of their spontaneous mimicry reactions (Study 1) or participants were instructed to mimic or not to mimic the movements of this person (Study 2). Then, they were informed about a rape and criminal assault and judged the degree to which they thought the victims were responsible for the crime. One of the crimes happened to the same person as the person they previously did or did not mimic. The other crime happened to a person unrelated to the mimicry situation. Results of both studies revealed that previously mimicking the victim or an unrelated person reduced the degree to which victims were being blamed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Justice Research
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012

Keywords

  • Imitation
  • Judgment
  • Mimicry
  • Nonverbal behavior
  • Victim blaming

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'On Mimicry and the Psychology of the Belief in a Just World: Imitating the Behaviors of Others Reduces the Blaming of Innocent Victims'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this