Instructions for Assigning Blame Part 2
In the U.S. legal system, mental state at the time of the offense
is taken into account in deciding guilt. For example, a person may be
found not guilty by reason of insanity if that person was determined to be unable to
distinguish right from wrong. In addition, punishments assigned by the court
will take into account if the perpetrator was experiencing duress, diminished
mental capacity, or less severe forms of mental illness. Sometimes defendants
are treated leniently for acts they committed but for which they were
judged unable to understand their action's consequences.
This is a study to see how psychologically, rather than legally, people assign blame based on
a person's mental state or situation.
In this study, blameworthy is defined as 'deserving reproach.'
In the following questions, please judge how blameworthy you find the following people to be, based
on who they were and what they did. The people who did these deeds were
either a severely mentally ill adult, an adult with no impairment, an emotionally distressed
adult, an adult under the influence of drugs, or a 10-year old child.
The deeds these people did are also described. In each case you are to rate how blameworthy
that person was for doing that deed.
Warmup Trials Assigning Blame