Perceptions and Eyewitness Memory of Shoplifting

Anderson, Shelbie F. (2017) Perceptions and Eyewitness Memory of Shoplifting. Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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Previous research suggests the stereotype of seeing men as violent may explain why men receive harsher sentences than women for committing the same type of serious crime (e.g., murder) (Beaulieu & Messner, 1999). This makes it important to understand what, if any, common perceptions exist for other types of crime and the impact such perceptions can have. The current study focused on whether perceptions of a shoplifter differ according to the perpetrator’s gender and the store setting, as well as whether perceptions impact recommended punishments. A convenience sample of 276 participants, 39 men (Mage = 26.72, SD = 12.17) and 228 women (Mage = 27.21, SD = 11.00), completed an online questionnaire where they were randomly assigned to see a picture of a shoplifter in one of three settings. The picture was described as being a picture of either a man or a woman, when in fact, all pictures were of the same individual. Results showed that there were differences in the number of inaccurate details recalled as a function of the whether participants were told the perpetrator was a man or a woman. Perceived motivations were similar across the gender provided, however, differences that did arise aligned with gender stereotypes. These differences did not impact recommended punishments. No differences in perceptions were found across the different store settings. Findings suggest eyewitnesses may perceive motivations of shoplifters differently based on their gender, but, these perceptions do not necessarily impact recommended punishments as they appear to do with violent crimes.

Item Type: Other
Item ID: 13097
Additional Information: “Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-40)”
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Psychology
Date: 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Witnesses--Psychological aspects; Recollection (Psychology); Sex discrimination--Psychological aspects

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