Title: Attribution of responsibility and assignment of sanctions for violations of positive and negative norms
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097706/00001
 Material Information
Title: Attribution of responsibility and assignment of sanctions for violations of positive and negative norms
Physical Description: ix, 156 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Briscoe, May Elizabeth, 1939-
Publication Date: 1970
Copyright Date: 1970
Subject: Responsibility   ( lcsh )
Judgment   ( lcsh )
Psychology thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis - University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 153-155.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Vita.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00097706
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000559455
oclc - 13494275
notis - ACY4912


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The writer wishes to express her gratiiud.e for the guidance given

her by the members of her supervisory committee: Dr. Marvin E. Shaw,

chairman, Dr. Stephan T. Margulis, Dr. Irwin Silverman, Dr. Richard J.

Ardkrson and Dr. Charles U. Morris. A special debt of gratitude is

owed Dr. Shaw for his wise counsel and for his patience. The writer

also wishes to thank her employer, Appalachian Regional Hospitals, Inc.,

for making it possible for her to complete this manuscript while employed

in a full-time capacity.


Pa 9c
ACKNJOWLED~i'LEli TS ........................... ii

LIST OFTP . . FPS ................... ....... '.

LIST OF FJ iF . . . . . . . . . . . . . -;i

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . ... . . . . ... iii


I l'. TR.. .I. ....................... 1

D 'rnir.i,:n ,:,f Attri;,bution :o.f R.-p:.ns i' ll.ty (v :'.' . . i
Th!-,?:," i ApnI.'cLis cf F'.-po,,.i ib 1it, At r.T rIbu i in. . 2
Ai. riS .,utLoL c.:. R -:.ron, ibilit,: ES:-rizi; -- l FirJ ingr : .
Ass ririct *f Sanct'itns (A.. ..I .. . ..... 1C0
Positi '.',-: a J ic:,at iv'-' i,!or.ims: Obi g t,:..rt ard
For.i'dd-, B--ha.vi.ors... .. ..... ... .... ..... 11
The P:chl i . . . . . . . . . . . . I?
HI ;. t'.. -: ,:.. Attribiut ion ..f F t spL ri sibility 'A . . . . 6
H .ST :'t; *" : A3 iqgrr :;- of sn:ticr (AS,' . . . . 18
H 'p0tles-s: .: .t icr.r:hip E:- tw,- n AiRP. and AS . . . . 19

II SjtLii sATE P4 LS. ....................... i

E:' rir.:n 1. . . . . . . . . . . . 21

D t rn;.t io o lorns. . . . . . . . . 1

SE-:pr iim:. . .................... ..

ISI E:P-ta 1d. . .cL.S . .U T . . . . . . . .

S.:?ir~li .I.TT........................ )

Skt: 'flU l. . ...... . . . . . . . . ..
TAdr r C . . . . . . . . . .. .


Results. . . . . . . . .. . . .39

Order Effects . . . . . . . . .. 39
Experimental Variables. . . . . . . .. .
Attribution of Responsibility (AR). . . . ... .h
Assignment of Sanctions (AS). . . . . . 56
Relationship Between AR and AS. . . . . ... 69
Summaary of Results of Experiment 1. . . . . 7

Discussion. . . . . . . . . . . ... 77


Method . . . . . . . .. . . . . 81

Subjects. . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Stimulus Materials. . . . . . . . .. 81
Administration. . . . . . . . . . 82

Results .. . . . . . . . . . . . 83

Control Variables . . . . . . . . . 8
Experir.ental Variables. . . . . . . ... 87
Simranary of Results of Experiment 2 . . . . 9

Discussion. . . . . . . . . . . . 96

V CO'iCLL.TO. . ....... .. ............ .... i100

S . . . . . . . . . .. . .... ... . 102

C MATERIALS FOR EXPERIMENT 1. . . . . . . . ... 119
D SLPF'LF'-ZTARY ANALYSIS. . . . . . . . . . 126
E NATELIALS FOR EXPERIMENT 2 . . . . . . . ... 13h
F RAW DATA FROM EXPERIMENT 1 . . . . . . . ... 139
G RAW DATA FROM EXPERIMENT 2. . . . . . . .... lh

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . ... . .. ...1 3

BIOFRAPHICAL SKE TCH. . . . . . . . . 16



1 Mean Attr ibju. ion of Responrsibili.ty and Assignmeru'nt of
SarncLticrn PaLtings for Each Realistic Content Test
IterI . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2 Suurimiary of thLe An-lysis of Variranc-: for At tribut'ion
of Responsibility, and Assigruinrt of Sanction
Ratings for Lou Outcome- Intensit' Iter,, E'.Eperimrrent 1

3 S':ra'ar,' of the.r Arnalysis of Va ria -nc for Attribtution
of Response ibiity and Assignmrrent of Sanction
Ratinq;s for Levels 3 and i, E-:periment 1 . . . .

M i;i, Aci.ribut ion of Rcspons,,ibil iL Ra.-t i rng for Omissionr
and CoriLrLission at Levels 3, I and 5 for Lou Intensity
O 1 ly. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

S Ne'ar, Attribution of Responsibility RFatings for Omriissior
and Corr, iss0 on aR. Levels 3 inij 1 for Coimbined Low
anrd High I1ntens.ity.. .... . . ........ .

6 eiaran ALt: ibut ion of Resp;onsibi it, Ratirngs for Omission
and Co, mmi ss on aT Low and High In, tensit. . . . ..

7 Mean Attribution of Responsibility Rati rgs for Lou and
High Int-en-sit, at Lc:vels 3 and L. . . . . .

8 Mearn Assigri'--nt of Sanrct ion Ratin gs for Omis.sion iLnd
Coir mission at Levels 3, 1 and 5 for Lou Irnte-nsity
Only . . . . . . . . . . . .

9 e:an Ass l3 ert of Sanccion F:atir gs for missionn arnd
ConrruisZion at Lo and ?iigh Intenrsicy. . . ...

10 iean Assi r'ufe-:nt of Sanction Ratings fo;r 'mi ss ion rnd
CouTi sssi5,r; at Levels 3 and i for Co,-.in-ed Lou and
High Int-rsit . . . . . . . . . .

11 M-:an A-'t. i'rnn nt cf Sarctio Ratings foi Lou and High
Inr.::sity at Lev- els 3 an . . . . . .

12 Me:-n Ar LLuibtution of Responsibil ity, and Assigrui-cnt of
Sanction Rat i .gs fo: Om :isi 3on and Cnr: mi ssion at
loW In te ns it :. . . . . . ..........


. 58

S. 61

S 63

13 Mean Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings for Omission and Commission for
Combined Low and High Intensity. . . . . ... 73

lh Mean Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings for Low and High Intensity. ..... 7lh

15 Mean Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings for Each Abstract Structure Item. . 8h

16 Summary of the Analysis of Variance for Experiment 2
Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings: Sources Significant at the Five
Per Cent Level or Better . . . . . . . 86

17 Mean Overall Attribution of Responsibility and Assign-
ment of Sanction Ratings for Omission and Ccmmnission,
Experiment 2 . . . . . . . . . .. 88

18 Mean Combined Attribution of Responsibility and Assign-
ment of Sanction Ratings for Low and High Intensity
Outcomes, Experiment 2 . . . . . . .... .91

19 Mean Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings for Low and High Intensity Outcomes,
Experiment 2 . . . . . . . . . . 93




Figure F'ag1-

1 iMNear Attribution of Respon.ibility Ra-.inos for
Omi isi on (0) and Comr.nission (C) Across Lcv.'l:
for Lo',r (L) a:d ;. j.h .:-1 Intcrni-' iy.. .. ... h9

2 "'ar Attribution of Responr Zibility, Ratirnqz for
Omission (0) and Coinriission (C) at Levels 3,
h and 5 for Lou Intrenisit . . . . . . 5h

3 Mean Assigrnrment of Sarnction Ratings for OmCission
(O0 and Cormmiission (C) Across Lev.els for LCo
(L) and High (H) Inter,ity. . . . . .... .$9

SPeanr A.ss igrrLmcnt of Sarnction Ratinr for Cwission
(0) ani Co, rriiission (C) at Le:.els 3, il and 5
for low Int-rensity . . . . . . ... . 6

$ Mean .At.i..ribut ion of Responsibility (AR)ard
AssignrLrmnt. of Sanction, (AS) Rat ir ns fcr
Omission (0) and Corvnission (C.) Across Levels.
for Lou Innsitv . . . . . . ..... 71

6 Mican jAttribut ion of Re sponsibility (AF:) and
Assigrumrent of Sanction (AS) Ratings for
OrIission (0) anrd Comrlission (C) Across Le'-:ls,
Experime t 2. . . . . . . . . . 89

7 Mean Attribution of Responsibility (AR) and
AssignrJr.ent of Sanction (AS) Ratings for Lozu
(L) and High (H) Intensity Acros L.evcel.,
Exp-riment 2 ................... 9L

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



May Elizabeth Briscoe

June, 1970

Chairman: Dr. Marvin E. Shaw
?'ajo r Department: Psychology

Two experiments were performed to assess the hypothesis that Attri-

but ion of Responsibility (AR) and Assignment of Sanctions (AS)are greater

for foreseeable negative outcomes resulting from violations of norms

which specify forbidden behavior (Commission) than for comparable outco.ies

resulting from violations of norms which specify obligatory behavior

(Omission). Additional hypotheses pertained to the relationship between

AR and AS and tc the effects on these Respcnse Modes of Levels of Causality

(Levcls 3, h and $) and Outcome Intensity (Low and High). In Experiment

1 realistic content items were used to elicit AR. and AS. In Commission

items for this experiment, the agent (the central character whose re-

sponsibility was assessed) was portrayed as engaging in behavior which

70 per cent of the members of a preliminary investigation sample had

ca'teoorized as Forbidden. In Omission items the ae.-et was portrayed as

fail in to r'"-iez in behavior which 70 per cent of the prcli:nir.sry sa,:ple

vi i i

memrrbers had categorized as obligatory., Level 3 items featured foreseeable

but unir:ntentiolnal negati'.e outomes; Le'.'el i items fraud ftud oresee.able

and intentional negative outcomes; and it-ems at Level 5 featured fore-

seeable, intentional and justifiablle, negative outcomes. Half of the

items featured out.comres of Low Intensity, and, the remaining items featured

High Intensit:, outcomes. An attempt w.as mace to e-qiTate items for Cau-

sality and Activity of the agent, but items were notr equated for per-

cei'.ed sev.eritv of the: HIorr i Violation or for percei''ed attract ri.eness of

the '.ictim. Therefore, a second ex'.perimenrt was conducted which was comi-

pairable in all rezsp'cts to Experiment 1 except that the stimulus iteis

were attract (i.e., cointerit-free). The results e're in accoridarnce with

major predictions. Thus ratings wer' uniformly greater for Co nLrisision

than for Omiiission for both Ar' and AS, but the difference was relatively.

more exaggerated for AS than for AR. Secondly, i rrz spectiv1:- of ILor

Violation, rat in, s were significantly greater at Le'.'el than at either

Lev.els. 3 or 5 for both Response iiodles. Thiird, both AS and A were

significantly greater for High than for Lov Intensity outccnes, but the:'

difference was relatively more pronounced for AS than for ARP. Fina3i.ly,

AR was significantl. greater than AS irrespective of ilorrn Violation.

Lev.'els or Intensity. The results uerer interpreted. as supporting the

nor.ion that violations of negativ'.e norms care rrce'ived as nore salient

and more tLhreatening than violationsn s of positive norns. In addition,

the results supporr. the postulate that AR is necessary, but not -uffiizEr.t.

to evoke AS.



The issue of responsibility determination, together with the related

issue of sanctioning judgments, has been accorded considerable attention

in the fields of law and ethics, but only recently have behavioral

scientists become concerned with this problem. The investigation re-

ported in this paper seeks to extend the growing body of research find-

ings pertinenL to this issue by assessing the relative effects of

Omission (i.e., violations of standards which prescribe or require par-

ticular behavior) and Commission (i.e.. violations of standards which

prohibit specific actions) on both attribution of responsibility and the

assignment of sanctions.

Definition of Attribution of Responsibility (AR)

On a conceptual level, attribution of responsibility might be de-

fined as the process whereby an individual is deemed to be open to

sanctions (i.e., rewards or punishments) by virtue of the fact that he

is linr'.-d in some manner to the occurrence of a positive or negative

event (Shaw and Sulzer, 1964; Sulzer, 1964: Sha': an RPeit.n. 1969). For

purposes of the present investigation, respons;i ilty was finedind by

instructing the subjects that "If a person y: rspor.siic fo: something

that' means that you might blame him for it or th-rik hi; fi. it" ,i.:;.:

and Sulzer, 19611).

Thc.oretical Analyses of F'Respins ibi iit'y Attrib'ut iCron

The major theor its in psychology who have been concerned with ths

perception of respcnsibility are Piaget (3932) ani Heid.r (1 0a; 1I958b).

This section containtL a review of their res.pectiv'l; positions.

Piaget's ( 19.32) formulation is pri ma-i ly conc-rrced Ir. ith an cl abor..-

tion- of the dc'.'cl.p-mental processes uhich he cons lidred irh'flu.nt ial in

the mnki!'iqg -:f :r.cr.] judg.menrLts. Thus, based c.n his pioneer invest ig tiors

of moral jujicr..: in children, he distinguished .two devl'.'op-mentai stages.

In the f: c:r. sa'.je, thec stage of "objective :c spor'n ibili ty". the chib 's

moral ju'.ij-met. -.re guided by ata' and their corisc',ence. and a: e iioL n-

flJ.nced by L .r,,' :cni ider aticn of the actor 'c intent ion This st ec is

se n to bc an r r :wth of "Poral real-,, uiwhich; is tL-:. your. child's

tendency t :.--ai.j duty and thi va, ..lu s httrching te it as self-;su;3;iten

and inderie -'ndent of the nir as im.pos' in itself re:r.'dl s. s of the ci :-

c ta'r L c['e. i ui C'.C tLhe ir'i';"icuai finds .i -e.lf. .Moa' ral iasn a;. Lt.S

emC pl. ssiss o, obj tie report. ,ibl.; ity which it erntail, ar:: aid to.-, p:-:-.-

doi r.i te.C until 3 abou-t, ae c C .r at whichh tile d.e .c-.ild enters .,:;- secc-.d

stage of nor al 'j. Lnt, '.'!-.ich is referred to as ',jc.-.t i ? rc:pon i-

bility". Subjcti- rcsponsibili t is characterize by prim-ry : ord-

eration i:ein g iq cc:oar';d ,- to :..otiv s and inrTr.tions.

Although Hei.dei:- (195a: 1.95t) based his analy .i of r:.-:ons ibi s ity

attri..'tion ori P'a et'' ('.932) fol ulat ion, h' ai s: e5 ; ,np '.: d the corn-

cepts 1f pers:ral and i.persor.al causality. The term "rl.er.ronal causality"

refeCrs to or.l tho-se ~ Ctions .i i cLh are guided by irt.e r gtion', uhi iC

"i'- r Rz' nal caisa i' -' c-co. pa-sses all instance. of unintenLded ef" ,Crt

prod:rt:.n ( .rL a3ut-o:nc., regard.l ss of wh"h.tbr the source is a .Tcm-

por.ant of the 1...i :: ] enr.:i -onret: or a ptr:on. "Euuif in:-. i t :i_-,ra:-

Lerizes personal causality whereas impersonal causality is characterized

b, "multifinality". That is, the person with intention may employ a

variety of means to attain an invariant coal, whereas in the case of

impersonal causality, a variety of outcomes may be produced depending on

the circumstances. Responsibility for an outcome may be attributed in

whole or in part to the environment, which consists of all impersonal

factors (e.g., fate, luck, task difficulty, etc.) that might be per-

ceived as facilitating or inhibiting the occurrence of an event. Personal

responsibility is said to vary with "the relative contribution of environ-

mental factors to the action outcome; in general, the more they are felt

to influence the action, the less the person is held responsible" (1958b,

p. 113).

Employing the insights obtained in his analysis of personal and im-

personal causality and drawing on the writings of Fiaget (1932) and

others, Heider (1958b) outlined five "levels" of attribution of responsi-

bility which represent a developmental progression from relatively prim-

itive to relatively sophisticated cognitive processes. At the most

primitive Level (Level 1), a person is held responsible for any outcome

with which he is associated in any manner. At the next Level (Level 2),

the person is held responsible for any outcome he caused irrespective of

his intentions and irrespective of the extent to which he could have

foreseen that his actions would result in the given effect. At the third

Level (Level 3), responsibility is attributed to the person for an out-

come which he unintentionally caused, provided that h. could have fore-

seen that his action would result in the given effect. The fourth Level

(Level -1) corresponds to Piaget's "subjective re.vporsibility". Here

the person is held responsible for those outcomes which ai. perceived as

inntntionally caused by him. At the fifth and most ,cphisticated L'.':1

(Leve] ), the justifiability of the persc'in's action is ugi.'ven sorir

weight; accord inrgly, the person is held less respond ible foIr ntenfrt ioenal ly

producing an effect, provi-ded that his action is viewed as justifiable.

Sh.aw and Sulzer (196L) and Sulzer (?196) have noted that HeiJer's

Levels of Causality mFayV bh '.'iewed as descript ions of the ir-orrat;ion

which is suifficicint to evoke attribution of responsibility (AR) at .ach

lee.'l of sophistication. They, also have pointed ,ut that on the basis

of Heider's formula ion, one wcilcd e:-:pect a '.-ry primitive individu-al to

show little variation in the aTmount of respor.is ibil it' attributed at each

succeuL;sive Level, whereass a sophisticated individual .Thould.show a pro-

gressive increase in tlhe amount of responsibility attributed fror Lev.'el

1 throu.!h Level L fl:Clowed by a Jdecreasez in that attributed at Level 5

because of tbh c:-:ternuting circumnstaices. The eviden:c for these and

other hypothe:scs are- rev-..'iewced in the ne:.t s .ti.rn.

Attribution of Respn rsibility: Empirical Findings

VariaLle-s 'which have been found to influence .' in-lude Levels of

Causality, Outcome- characteristics and characteristics of .boLh the

attrilhutor and the- agent. ;Jnless other. is noted, the in'esti, tors whoz:.

findinos are rev''ie'wLed in this section used an insti.u- ri nti similar to the

AR' quest ionr.ai re devised 'by Shau' and Sulzer (19j6h) anr Eutizr (196l).

This cons osi'S c.f brirf descript ions of hypot.he.tical situ-ations; uhich

culmin ate in pc siti'v-: or negati'. -: outcor'ies (i .e., enrefit or barn" to

sorieon' otl:h r than the certr.al per.sc,- irihose re spor:sibilitt fr:- each

depictedl clIutrcc. is to be asse eu. ITh-' f ctl:.rs ;which li nl this F:-json

to the .c-'ent, portr ,.-:d I-'ere '.a rid i:n :,ran of the sur :. Ldi-: reviewed

belou so that ea..h ien would re: resent ore of the .c-se ls of Causalit',.

Despite differences in the experimental setting and in the popula-

tions studied, all of the investigators (Sulzer, Blum, Nichols and Brant,

1963; Shaw and Sulzer, 196h; Sulzer, 196); Cuthbert, 1966; Garcia-Esteve,

1967; Gilmore, 1967; Kronstadt, 1967; Shaw, Briscoe and Garcia-Esteve,

1968; Shaw and Reitan, 1969; Shaw and Schneider, 1969b; Garcia-Esteve and

Shaw, 1968; Shaw, 1968; and Sulzer and Burglass, 1968) who have assessed

the effect of Heider's Levels of Causality on AR have reported a highly

significant effect due to Levels. Indeed Shaw and Sulzer (196h), Sulzer

(1964) and Cuthbert (1966) were led to conclude from their investigations

that "causal structure' (i.e., Levels of Causality) is the major determi-

nant of AR. Although the pattern of AR responses across Levels has been

shown to vary as a function of characteristics of the agent (Gilmore, 1967),

the attributor (e.g., Shaw and Sulzer, 196h; Garcia-Estove, 1967) and the

outcome (e.g., Sulzer, 196h), in gonoial a progressive increase in AR has

h-'cn obcsrved between Levels 1 and I, followed by a decrease at Level $.

In most of the investigations (Wright, 1960, 193, 16961; Shaw and

Sulzer, 19: Suzer, S r 196h; Kroi:L-raJt, 196o, 1967; Shaw, Briscoe and

Garcia-Esteve, 1968; Shaw end Reitan, 1969; Shaw; and Schneider, 1969b;

Garcia-E::L vc and Shaw, 1968; Shaw, 1968) in which Outcome Quality has

beenvaried, a general tendency has been observed for AR to be greater

for negative than for positive outcomes. Hou.ever this effect has been

shown to vary as a function of Levels of Causality and Outcome Intensity.

It also appears to be dependent to some extent on the particular sample

tested (Garcia-Esteve a:nd Shaw, 1968) and the particular instrument

'(Shaw and Sulz r 1 96".: Shaw a.:,. *3-i.', : .... ... -;.' ',* r,., l0c, j -.o .r, irce

A- I. f n s'" z. f --- ia-En j i 3 i t, '.-a I f irJ ing"

of ' fcC ;i: I I.'I ... t;,an fo:" ,'' ir. 1'. -_ o t. c0 re ,'L,1t.airi..,-J fcr

Puerto Ricar, urban samples and for Puerto Ricin rural subjects in the

16-19-year age range. The finding i.'as reversed, however, among younger

subjects from rural areas. In the first of two experiments, Shaw- and

Sulser (196t') found more AFR for negative than for positive outcomes but.

in the second e::periment, which was a replication of the first except

for different item cont-ent, no significant differences were observed in

AR between positive and negative outcomes. Finally, Shaw and Schieider

(196 b) used an AFR questionnaire comp-.rZed of abstract (i.e., content-

frLee) items in place of the more commonlly used realistic event descrip-

tions and fund no significant effect due to Outco:ie CQ ual ity a Ccing

children belou tl.: age of 17.

The result- of a num-rer of studies (Sulszer, 196hL; rEonstadt, 1965

1967; Cuth-ibert, 1966;: talster, 1966; Shaw, Briscoe- arLn Garcia-Estet.e,

1968; Shaw and Schncider, 1969h; Garcia-Est.eve and Shaw, 1968; Shaw,

1968; and Sulser and Eurglass, 1968) indicate that AR is greater for high

than lor Jo.: Intensity outcomes of both positive and negative Quality.

Ho':wever this effect varies throughout the five L,'.-sls of Causality and

is r.ore pronounced .-itl some subject s-mples than with others (e.g.,

Garcia-Este.v:. arnd Shaw, 1968). Also, findings reported by Lackey (1968)

suggest that I;-ntensit y effects may be attenuated when the irnform:at;on

emLployed to eli:-t .< is highly abstract in nature. The subjec-ts who

participatl:i in that study rere given a description of the procedure and

results of a h-',Tothetical verbal learning experiment involving shockl as

the reinforcer and they we.re asked to imagine that this experimrrent had

hten desicn.ed a;nd :co,-JuctedJ by a mrale undergraduate at their own univer-

sit*. Outcome Inters'tyv was ..':ried by informing subjects in some con-

ditions that Lh.: sZhocCk chosen as a rcirJorcer by the hypothetical experi-

menter was quite intense (high Intensity negative outcome) while in the

remaining conditions the shock was described as moderate (low Intensity

negative outcome). After they had indicated their individual assess-

ments of the hypothetical experimenter's responsibility for the outcome

of the experiment, the subjects in each of the respective conditions

were asked to arrive at a group decision concerning the amount of re-

sponsibility to be attributed to this individual. The results revealed

the usual difference between the high and low Intensity outcomes when

group assessment comprised the AR measure but no difference was apparent

for individual assessments of responsibility.

Characteristics of the attributor which have been shown to influence

AR include age (Shaw and Sulzer, 1964; Kronstadt, 1967; Shaw, Briscoe and

Garcia-Esteve, ]968; Garcia-Esteve and Shaw, 1968; Shaw, 1968); race

(Shaw and Schneider, 1969b); cultural background (Shaw, Briscoe and

Garcia-Esteve, 1968; Garcia-Esteve and Shaw, i 6; Shaw, 1968); emotional

dis!.,ar:ance (Kronstadt, 1967); and personality variables such as authori-

tarianism (Cuthbert, 1966), field dependence, self acceptance and rigidity

of self concept (Wright, 1960) and punitiveness and empathy (Sulzer and

Burglass, 1968). Essentially no relationship has been reported between

AR and attribuzor characteristics such as sex (e.g., Shaw, 1968), I.Q.

(Shaw and Schneider. 1969a) and locus of control (Lackey, 1968). Also,

Shaw and Reitan (1969) and Gilmore (1967) reported only a slight (i.e.,

statistically unreliable) relationship between AR and the attributor's

occupational background.

In general, the results of studies which have dealt with the effects

of age, race and emotional disturbance indicate that sophisticated AR

patterns i.-,ical of adults emerog around 10-12 years o.' '-:e .iith yo.'urn:'

child dren showing relatively lit t. l ifferinilt iat ion amonri ctaual 7rtructures

(Shaw and Suizer, 196h; KronstadL, 1967; -Thaw and Schneidcr, 1'9'..'.). Th

least amount of diffCerentiation is Zhown by 'iegro children whose cultural

reviro runrint is relatively depr ived (Shaw and Schrne ider, 1969b) and by

,childJren who arc c;.ot ional y di st.urbed (Krronst adt, 1967), but d ilffSlrer,._cs

in AR patterns b-tw,,-rn thes.'-- and othTr chlilJdrcn arc apparent, tly no lonjar

d iscrnib1 by about age 12. Findings with respect to personality

vari abl s ind icatk that individuals ii ho are charaitcrized by fi eld Jde-

pendjrn-e, ]ou self acceptance : arid rigidity, of s.elf c:onccpt sho' greater

variabilil..' a3r ar- mori r ::treme i t he ir attribution than individuals

who are r .-:: ld deperndn.rt, more self acceptant and less, rigid in th-ir

self conc.pts i(right, 1960). Authoritarian individuals (Cutibert, 1966)

or inJ i.idu-ls who are light on pun it ive.-nes and lou or i epathy (Sulzar

and Burlass, 1968) :how greater 'illingness to -ttributl responsibility

for fors-eabic but uninterndol negative ouLtcome and rneat ive outcomerr

produced ulnd-r just ifi'yi i c ircurr stane s than non-authoritarian ird i'iviuals

or individuals i rnio arc less puur.it'iv.- and mrorc rri apathetic Finally the

c.videnc from cross-cultur-al studies (Shaw, Erisco and Garcia-Esteve,

1968; Garcia-Estove .rJn Shau 19i ; Shaw, 1968c suggests that tiie rat

of d',elopFmrnt of "so:h i sLicat. ior'' in AR, particularly withi respect to

Outcome, QuJ it:, may be deter.iin-d in psrt ::, child-rearing practice:

whi,!c arc ccrj'i:~ to a particular cultlure or siubculture .

Re lativ':':ly fE~ studies have .'::plor:d the relations :p tetLwoeen A

anJ thi prc-: ,- ch ractcr; stic. of tie agent. Us ig ar instruTment

called th ocal ]- .ra ct i on Se ri s .5 h., hich conrsiscs of a nrumi.er

of carcd-. :Oi.iS .i;--. a:r.i uig ,-; *r.;::82a C' ,wo .p rso--. in soc ial irnte:--

ac.t lo-S, : icht :, '-.c -.' d triki-j L, nde :',' for Uori : r p. s ipons i-

ability to be attributed to the more active member of his simulated dyads.

Activity in this study was not conceptually defined but rather was de-

fined operationally in terms of the depicted figures'postural positions.

The latter were varied so that within each depicted dyad one member ex-

hibited a postural position indicative of a greater degree of both

physical movement and other-directed activity than did the other. Sulzer,

Blum, Nichols and Brant (1963) and Lackey (1968) attempted to vary the

degree of similarity between the actor and the attributor and in both

studies the effects on AR were not pronounced. Thibaut and Riecken's

(1955) finding that the locus of causality is perceived as internal to

high status persons but as external in the case of low status persons

suggests that AR may vary depending on the agent's perceived status.

Relevant findings have been reported by Wright (1960, 1963, 196)), Shaw

and Sulzer (1964) and Gilmore (1967). In the studies by Wright (1960,

1963, 196)), more responsibility was attributed by nales to authorities

than to peers. This effect was most pronounced when the authority figure

was a female. Shaw and Suz7er (1964) noted that their juvenile subjects

were more sophisticated in their AR patterns when the actor presumably

was an adult than when the actor was identified as a child. The adult

subjects in their study attributed less responsibility to juvenile than

to aijlt actors for foreseeable but unintended positive outcomes and for

posh;.".*: outcomes produced under coercion. Gilmore (1967) found that

mental health workers were more willing to attribute responsibility to

an actor who was described as ::cntallv healthy" than to an actor who

was identified as ''mentally ill".

It should be noted that, rather than reflecting a differential

willira''ss to attribute r.e:;o, ability to high and low status per.xc.,

the findings of right. (1960, 1963, 1960', Shau i and Suizer (1961) and

Gilmoi re (19671) mii:ht actually, reflect a ttenderncy to attribute responsl-

bility differently to persons uh-o app-ear similar or d i similar to thel

attr-ibutor. E'oth 'i igjht. (1960) and Suizer (!961L) have pointed out that

diffe-:rnces which m ppi"ar to reflect status effects may actually b--

traceable to '.aryin,-i de;rees of sirrilarity, b-tuceen the actor and the'

attribute .

Assi grne:nt of Sanctions (AS)

Sujlz--: (198L)I has conce:ptualiz.-ed attribution of responsihbility (AR)

and assig rGr lent of sanctions (AS) as related beha.viors which are determinri:d

jointly b cha-acter- its of the attributor and pe:rc eived character ri st i:s

of thI- ut imrulus- sit.u'.tion. He suggest ted moreor'.ver that AP. provides the

basis for AS sincc, if a .person iS to be percerivedi as legitimat.cly: olp-n

to sanct ioning for a '.'eent, 1e must be ju-dged as responsible' fo. that

event. Hoirever, although AF det.'ermnines uheith:r or not sanctioning will

be con side re a'prop,'iate it, does not dictate either the directi- r

:rcuard or purn, .--I mnt) or the amount of sanctioning. Instead both

direction anm amount of sanctjionin are primrnrIrily, de-terminied by the

nature (i.e., quality a nd intensity) of the outcome.

The a-.ailable ev-.Jidence, supports Sulzer's conception of AS. This

evidence sugciest.s that PP and AS are related but not identical phenolrmena

and furthermiorc: tha-. AR is necessary but not sufficient t.o evoke AS.

With res-pe;: : to the simirlart L-b-t'.reen AR and AS, Sulze'; (19.6,), Shaw

and Reitani (19.9) anJ Sha: (1967) all noted similarities in the patterns

of A r. ros l of Car sa icot. EachL of t. Ech these investigators

found a prog'e:s: '.. increase in the amount of sanctions assigned b-tt:cren

Levels 1 ?n-i L and a decl'.ne at Level ,They also found thaIc, like AR,

AS tn-ds to be greater for negative than for positive outcomes and

greater for. high Intensity than for low Intensity outcomes. With respect

to the differences between AR and AS, Sulzer (1961) and Shaw and Reitan

(1969) found that AS is influenced relatively more by Outcome character-

istics than is AR and that judgments of an agent's responsibility for

any event tend to exceed the amount of sanctioning deemed appropriate.

The latter finding in particular lends support to the notion that AR

provides the basis for, but doe, nrot demand, AS.

Positive and INegative Horms: Obligatory and Forbidden Behav.'iors

nWhen a person beia'.'es normatively he enyages in behavior i-thich is

approved or accepted by most of the members of his social group. The

role theorists., middle and Thomas (1966), distinguish berweer, behaviors

which are ncrrnt ively required, behaviors which are nornat ive ly forbidden :

and behaviors rer.ich are neither required nor forbidden.

All prescriptions define given behavior as fortiddcrn,
obligatory, or indifferent, and basic to each of these:
is the idea of permission. If behavior i.s pernitt.d,
it is 'allo..ed', it 'may' or 'may not' be performed,
it i. optional:l. Now, forbiddenn' behavior is be-
havior w-hi.ch is rot permitted: obligatoryy' behavior
is b-havior ..ith resn -et. r.o izhich it is not permitted
not to rcerform it: arnd 'indifferent' behavior is be-
havior in re.pec:t t.c .-hich it is permitted to per-
forn it and it is als, p:r. i:ted not to perform it...
Obliiatory and forbidden cbehvior are alik'- in that,
for each, ce-rtain i- ,-aviCor is not peFrr.itted and con-
sequent. ly. neither is 'indiff ernt' ... (p. :2).

Oth.r ur rite:' .>:- h 'ave .xaJ- a similar distinction include NeZTucorrmL

(190)i and E' .i'-:: -nJ DRav.is l? '.'. l.rcomr posits a continuum of be-

haviors a- : cc i.te. ti: r anr:y role .

At o~' ..- .'.r-:'. ar- b.ha'io Or 2, .nde." of al1 ccupants
of a ..:-.: L,. ..- .At the c thLer e.:cr:'ree of the co' tii nu'n-
but .'o. i--.i-.'- in the pres.r -ib.-ed role are' ric' se
whic:-. ar; "- id-:-n to -.:1 :.c .;pan s- of a ro 1-ion.

Intc.rme-di at :.:. tw-en these e.. : r.. r. '-rr s are .,r -rious b e-
ha'viors which h arc p-:rrirm tted but not demanded...
Wlhat is r.-equirc.d o. the- occiupan:,t of a cp.osition i
that. he perform the necec-ssary fun_ t ion. (some times
in specif if-d '.j ay s, some times in arny of a nmui,,c:r of
ways) and that he avoid the forbtidde-rn bchavio ,rs
(pp. 281-252).

In ord c.r tc ascc.rtain what bhcha.' iors ar.-' r.'cq1ui rd for tir, occ,. pants cf

a i'.'v.n pos rition, iJcwo nb (I1.C, ) r.co. rrLn nds that a r-pr.:'sr.cn t i-.c sampcl

cf th..: p,'pulat ion bt. irntcr-:ricuid. Th:. prc scri L.cd rol cou ld then be

op:. rat ionally' d i in -:'d as consist ing of all :.ha. aors whicr wcr-: con-

sid.erc'd by some proport ion of the. sajrnpi r.pondcnt., to b-c densanid for

occupantss of that ps ition.

Blask. and Da., is (1 9l?6) d i st in r ui sh bet ucn po-. it i'z ly stated nor rsi

and rcngsat i-.',-l stated normr Posit ;.'E rorms spec ify' what b.hav-ior o.r -ht

to .:-, n.gati.'E, rnorris specify, wha bcha', io.r cu.1,1t not to be. These

writer:c al..o po irt outr that "sa nor m that is .taed positive.' el', is, in

*effect, stated in t-erms cf some r-uard for co.mpi ince, wh .rac' a ng at i.'e

norniat i-.e .tari ent implies pur.ishment" (p. 6 ). Cn the basis cf this

assc.rt ion one might -:.'pect that 'biolat ion cf a posit iv. e norm (i .e.,

fa iliur. to crngqa- in robligatcor'y bk-ha.vior') would rcsuJt rierely ir t heI

t erminat icr or o :it hold ing of a positive stimulus (i .e., re.vward) rattier

than in tht applic.t ion of a ng'ativ.e anict ion (ci. .., punishm:: t).

In sujrLnary, normr: are conipr I s;.d cf two broad c lassss, n.,eati ve and

pos,,iti..'. A ncejat;. 'e normri refers to the -:p:ectnc'y gener'rall h ld :by

th'e mrr,'Tr:,.'s of a sci lal group that the occupants cf a gqi.,'n position

will not engaged in certain Lbeha',ioris. A pc. csitivtv n r:i: r-.:eferrs to the

broadly held c.:::xcr.aicy that the .ccup3nts of a giv-rL position will

angagqe in certain b-C':r.'iors. Henrce, broadly. slea!_kirg, an individual

mai' fail to b 1ehave ormat i'. ;:.l in o!-e of. two ''?., He mnav either rn-

gage in a-tiors :'i-cih are roeard:ed by the bulk c.If the .nriCmleCrs of hi

social group as forbidden to him, in which case he is violating a

negative norm, or he may fail to engage in actions which most members

of his group perceive as obligatory for him, in which case he is guilty

of violating a positive norm.

The Problem

Norms are generally considered by social scientists to be signifi-

cant determinants of human behavior. However, there are few empirical

studies of the effects of norm violations. Investigators of AR and AS

in particular have neglected these phenomena. More importantly, they

have frequently utilized, as their stimulus materials, short stories

in which violations of various norms are prominently featured while at

the same time they have failed to control for, or even take cognizance

of, the effects these variables may exert on AR and AS (e.g., Shaw,

Briscoe and Garcia-Esteve, 1968).

The major objective of this study was to provide a comparison of

AR and AS for foreseeable negative outcomes associated with the Commis-

sion of forbidden or prohibited acts (i.e., violations of negative norms)

and the Omission of demanded or obligatory acts (i.e., violations of

positive norms). A related objective was to determine the relative

effects of Intentionality, Justification and Outcome Intensity on AR

and AS for negative outcomes associated with the two basic types of norm

violations. Hereafter the terms Commission and Omission will be used to

denote violations of negative and positive norms respectively.

As originally conceived, the investigation was to involve only one'

experiment in which short stories of relatively realistic item content

would be utilized to obtain responsibility and sanctioning judgments.

However, difficulties encountered in generating enough tLories to mnet

t.he requirements of the ex:perriiental design, as originally conceived,

necessitated a second ex:perim-:nt, in which it.emns of an abt.ract nature

(i.e., content-free) were u.sed.

In order to define Co mission and rmii ss in operatio.:,na ll for pur-

poses of the first experiment (Ex:periment 1), it was first necessary to

ideritify at least some- of the positive and' negat ive\ norm is :corrurmon to

irirrb-ers of the target population. Accordingly a pre liminary investigate icn

was conductedd dur ing which a sample drawn from t the target populL iorn tras

co-nfronted i-th ,a large nujiber of brief descr iptiorns f actions that iiight,

actually. occur in .various situations. Each sample irrjerter was asked to

read each des-criptior: and then decide on the basis of his oI:n IUmoral

standards whether the action that was portra:.ed ought to be obligator,'

for the person Who was identified as the actor in the situatiTon. wh-",ther

the action ougiit to be fcrbidd- nt to that person, or whether the action

was indifferen. .r:i a--- moral standpoint and hence should ,be- neither for-

bidden rno d:rm.a::d.:d of the arct or. A criterion for agreement was estab-

lished at 70C fc:' Lhe "Forbidden" and "Obligatory" categories and all

items rnot mre::tini this criterion wert-. eliminated. In this manner sorm:: of

the positiv- and negative norms of the target population were identified

and a basis was presided for operational izing the definitions of Ominission

and ComL-rris.ion. Then during the e:-'periment proper (E:-periment 1), a

questionnaire similar to t.-at devised by Shaw and his colleague: (Shau'

and Sulaer, 19'; Sulzer, o196: Shaw, 17; Shaw, Eriscc.e and Garcia-

Estev"e, 1968; Sha an]i Reitan, 196?) uas used to elicit AF. and ASr re-

sp,;nses. In half of the short stories in this quest ionn: ile, the agq'ent

(i.e., thea t:rgqet person i.hose responsib lilt was to be assessed) wa'.s

port raRed as .nq:.g-:ina in actr.ions uhich the majority of ju-dges, who par-

ticipated in the preliminary investigation had agreed ought to be pro-

hibited (Commission). For the remaining stories the agent was portrayed

as failing to engage in actions which were characterized as obligatory

by the majority of judges who participated in the preliminary session


The Level-delineating factors of Intentionality and Justification

were also varied during the first experiment so that Levels 3, h and 5

were each represented among the stories. For Level 3 stories the Norm

Violation was described as resulting in an unintentional but foreseeable

negative outcome. At Level h the Norm Violation was described as result-

ing in a foreseeable and intentional negative outcome. At Level 5

mitigating circumstances were introduced so that the Norm Violation,

although resulting in a foreseeable and intentional negative outcome,

was portrayed as occurring under some form of environmental coercion.

Finally OuLcom Intensity was varied so that in some of the stories the

Norm Violation uas described as resulting in a severe degree-of harm to

someone other than the agent while in the remaining stories the degree

of harm was pcorcrayed as slight. Half of the subjects in Experiment 1

initial, responded to all stories by indicating the agent's degree of

responcsibilir,,, for each depicted outcome. Following this the stories

were prescnLei 2_ain and they were asked to indicate for each outcome

whether ard t." uhat degree the agent should be sanctioned. For the re-

P.ainirn Subjccts the order of response was reversed so that responsi-

bilit:, judgnlents were preceded by sanctioning judgments.

The 7c.-orn experiment (Experiment 2) was essentially a replication

of the fir'L c:-:cept T.h'., in place of short stories of relatively real-

istic c cnt.nt, abstract structures were used. Each structure was abstract

in th- sense that it contained only the L5Iret srat.-:nnr,. of the inde-

pendencLt variables it tas designed to represent, T-i.L a ,ii ni1iumr of con-


Hy, poth .:- es: Attribution of Respons i bi lity' (P.)

In general it is anticipated that more responsibility should he

at tribute to n a agrnt L'hu i l ink.-d to a negat i'e outcome by an act of

Comrrii ssion than b, on-e of COLi ssion. Th is prediction is founded pri-

marily or: tt'o considerations. Fir-st, the degree to which a norm violator

is ipe rce i.ed- as the causc of an ensuing negati'.e outcome mta be greater

in th, case of Cona rission than in the case of C.ission. ~uJereas

negative'. interp,.- rsonal rent. such as pcersoial injrju.r' or loss of proper-lty

often occurs as a direct consequence of Commission (e.9., murder, rape,

larcc-,n, assault, arson, cmt'bezzlement, Ctc.), it would appear thPt in

the ci e o.f CGa.il" ionr the ilorm I violation in and of itself rarely, if e.'e:',

is s' ffi iCient to cause nmaer ial iirj.r'.ry to persons or property. IJrstead

env i oric -;ita1 forces of'ten p.lax, a decisi.'- role in deterrmnirng wheL hor

and to uhat extent iriat-:ri2! damage "iill r-es '.U:t from Omission. If the

supposition is correct that Omission and Cortrnission -iiifer with respect

to the ext.-nc o 0 which th-ey are p rcrei-.'. : as directly .causing negative

int personal e.lents, there we should e:.pect that bbcth AF. an' AS uill be

greater for Co, missior: cLha for Ocmission. This is so. first, because

Kr-onsrtdt (1'6,) has demons treated a substantial relationship Letueen

degree of perceiv.ed ca-usality for rngati.e cutcomes and ArP. rand, sec..ondly,

because AS has L-e.:rn demnorsl. raced .i; be dependent on ARt (Silzser, l 'L.;

Share and- F.itan, 16,). A sr:con- -eajsor for predict ing judgments of

greater resr.ons ibi lit. for Co --rission t.hn for ,i.,ission is that a terndency

may -:..ist to p:rc: i c av p-rson who omits to en. .,a ie i: ob.]ic. g ator',' actions

as physically less active than a person who coimiits prohibited acts.

Failure to perform a required action is the distinguishing characteristic

of Omission so that a person who is guilty of this type of offense may

violate the norms either by engaging in no activity at all or by engaging

in irrelevant activity. On the other hand, a high degree of physical

activity is typically requisite for Commission to occur. In this con-

nection it is important to note that although Wright (1963) found a

striking tendency for AR to vary positively with the activity of the

agent, activity as employed in his study could refer either to degree of

physical movement or to amount of other directed, aggressive behavior.

For purposes of the present study, activity was defined as degree of

physical activity.

The effects of Levels of Causality, Outcome Intensity and the Levels

x Intensity interaction were expected to agree with findings obtained in

other studies (e.g., Sulzer, 196h3 Shaw, Briscoe and Garcia-Esteve, 1968;

etc.). Specifically it was expected that AR would be maximal at Level

4 for both Omission and Commission and that significantly less responsi-

bility would be attributed at Levels 3 and 5. Although, in general,

greater AR was predicted for outcomes of high than low Intensity, the

magnitude of this effect was expected to be least pronounced at Level h.

Finally, although AR was expected to be significantly greater on

the whole for Commission than for Omission, the magnitude of this effect

was expected to be least pronounced at Level h (where it is clear that

the agent intends the outcome) and most pronounced at Level $. With

respect to the attenuaticn of t-c effect of Violation at L.evl it

was assumed that the factor of In..ntlional ity iwouild be zo co.paelling as

to obscur; differences betue.:r, Cmissioi n Coj.-mis ion. Ulth rt-pcct tc

the ex:aggleration of differences at Level it was assumed that actions

which normally would be demanded- are no longi-r .viewed as obdligatory

when a persor is subjected to envi rortrental coercion. However, obliga-

tions to refrain from prohibited acts are viewed as bnindi to some

degree regardless of the c circumstances.

These hypotheses are stated below in sI'rLumary, forr:

Hypothesis 1. Significantly greater respond, ibili ty will be

attributed to an agent who is linked to a rnegat i'.e' outcome by

reason of Copur i sion than to an agent who is linl:ed to a similar

outco'me- by ras-on of Omi ssion.

Hypothesis 2. Mean AR will be signific-antly greater a-.. Level

h than at eitihc'r Le-vels 3 or 5 for both CTlissiJn- and Cor-L'iission.

H pot'-e si s 3. For both kinds of Hoiiri Violation, s ignificantlv

greater rcnponi- ibitlit;y w.i!l be attributed for outcomes of High

Intensity, as compared with those of Low Intensity.

H7-iyothes is The effect of Violation will be attenuated at

Level (i (iheire it is clear that r-egardless of the nature of his

offenses" rhe agent intends the outcome) and the Violation effect

will be ex>agqerated at Level 5.

HypT otheisis 5. Relatively large differences between Lo;i and

High Intensity will occur at Level L, as uon.pare:d with Levels 3

and L.

,o predictions were made concerning the violationn :I: Inteisity inter-

action or the Violation :e: Le.vel :< Intensity interaction.

FHypothese, s: Assignment of Sancticns I'AS)

In general., d i '.7f-.rnces between n Omission anr Com-0 i -s icr:. were e:.:-

pec,-ed to be ven rmvore pronrournd ij hn the Pio-le of Response was assinn-

ment of negative sanctions (AS) as compared with attribution of responsi-

bility (AR). This expectation is founded on the observation (Blake and

Davis, 1964) that reward is associated with positive norms and punish-

ment with negative norms. Predictions concerning the effects of Levels

and Outcome Intensity accord generally with findings reported by Sulzer

(1964), Shaw (1967) and Shaw and Reitan (1969). The specific hypotheses

are as follows:

Hypothesis 6. Overall AS will differ significantly for

Omission and Commission, with greater sanctions being assigned

for Commission.

Hypothesis 7. AS will be significantly greater at Level h

than at Levels 3 or 5.

Hypothesis 8. The effects of Intensity will be even more

pronounced for AS than for AR. Significantly greater sanctions

will be accorded for High than for Low Intensity outcomes.

Hypothesis 9. Intensity effects will be attenuated at Level

h relative to Levels 3 and 5.

Hypothesis 10. Small differences between Omission and Com-

mission will occur at Level h, as compared with Levels 3 and 5.

Again, no predictions were entertained concerning the Violation x

Intensity or the Violation x Levels x Intensity interactions.

Hypotheses: Relationship Between AR and AS

Additional hypotheses concern the effects of Mode of Response (AR

vs. AS).

Hypothesis 1 Mean AR will be significantly greater than

mean AS.

HypoJthsis 12. The differcn.:es bt:-leen tr.issio:-: arn Coolizssion


will be greater for AS than for APR.

H:, p,: ths i : 13. D iffrences blct.-w.:n AR and AS will bL: greatest

wh-i'ir Outc' rrom. Irtensit:,y is Lou, as compared with High.

Hy-poth.Lsli s 11 ar.n 13 arc in ac-cordan.:.c uit.h i inri ings reported by:

Sulzer (19l.i ) and Shs r and Re itan (196,9). Hp,Tc.thes is 12 is based on

the ass3urpt ic.n tlhat .'iol..at ion of a posit ive norm t':Tpica ll results in

the termrinar ion or yi-ithholding of a reward, whereas violation of a

negativ.'e norm typically results in punishmrnt.



Experiment 1

The stimulus materials used to elicit AR and AS in Experiment 1

consisted of a set of relatively realistic short stories constructed to

portray an offense of either Omission or Commission which results in a

foreseeable but unintended negative outcome (Level 3), an intended and

unjustified negative outcome (Level h) or an intended negative outcome

which occurs under justifying circumstances (Level 5). Outcome Intensity

was varied so that in half of the Level 3 and Level stories the Norm

Violation (Omission or Commission) was portrayed as resulting in only

a slight degree of harm (Low Intensity outcome); for the remaining level

3 and Level 4 stories the degree of harm was portrayed as severe (High

Intensity outcome). Outcome Intensity was not varied at Level 5 for

reasons outlined below; instead both the Omission and Commission stories

at this Level featured a Low Intensity outcome. The resulting question-

naire consisted of ten stories since one story was used to represent each

corrmination of the Violation (V), Levels (L) and Outcone Intensity (I)

variables. Stories were selected for inclusion in this questionnaire on

the basis of in-formation obtainecl during oa fri-,:li; inr'.- i;r,.e:stig t on.

The preliminary, in'..estig?- ion i d-scriled in t.he following s-ections.

D .-.ter, ir.i r, ion ,of o'or.

In order r,', fln:ir sore- deo-'gr-e of cont'riol o. ,: The '/iolition ,'aria-ble-

it uas dec med necessary first to ascertain oughth" and "ought not" ex-

pect nations shared by members cf the target-populaticn. Omission and

Corrcumission could then be defined operationally for purposes of the ex-

periment as depicted failure on the part of a fictional character to

adhere to these expe-ctations. Accordingly, during the initial phase of

the preliminary irrnesrigation. a sample composed of c j females and L1

males was drlun from the target population (Uni.'ersity of Florida under-

graduate volunteers from introductory psychologyq courses) and asked to

classify each of a large rnur.ber of depicted a=ts as "Obligatory".

"Forbidden" cr "Indifferent" for specified status positions. Sample

members were told to use the Obligatory category if they felt that the

specified acti,-n .as morally demanded of the person identified in rhe

description, th,- Fc.rbidden category if thry felt tha- it iwas morally

forbidden to hi, anr, the Indifferent category if they felt the action

was indifferent from a moral ieupo int. (The inrst ucr, ions actually used

are presented in Appendi:. A-1.) A tota. of 153 action description: was

used and judgments were obtained during a sir.nl session.

Classification of an action as either Obligatory or Forbidden bc

T7C or more of the sample members was taken az sufficient evidence of a

-shared expectation for behavior (i.e., either a positive or negative

norm). This criterion uas met by both sexes on 10'. event descriptions.

Of these, L IL wmre classified as Forbidden and 59 were classified as

Obligatory. The acceptable descriptions are reproduced in Appendix. A-2.

Story Structure and O;utcomrre Sele:-ion

Tri results of th- initial phase of the inve-Stigation were incorpor-

ated within a large nu:.,-'be r of short sLories w,.:hich were devised by th.

wrTiter. Each of t.-s:c stories portrayed a target person (the agent) as

engaging in an act which had been judged to be Forbidden by 70% or more

of the first sample (Commission) or as failing to engage in an action

which had been categorized as Obligatory by at least 70% of the sample

(OCmission). For each story an attempt was made to have the sequence of

depicted events culminate in a foreseeable negative outcome.' In addition,

an attempt was made to vary Intentionality, Justification and Outcome

Intensity in accordance with the requirements of the experimental design.

Following preparation of the stories a professor from the Department

of Psychology at the University of Florida, who was thoroughly acquainted

with the requirements of the experimental design, was asked to classify

each item with respect to the Levels variables (i.e., Causality, Fore-

seeability, Intentionality and Justification) and Outcome Intensity.

Stories uhich appeared to be structurally inadequate were discarded,

and the remaining stories were presented to an independent sample of

28 males and 30 females who were drawn from the target population. These

subjects were asked to rate each story for Causality, Foreseeability,

Intentionality, Justification, Outcome Quality and Intensity and for the

Status and Activity of the agent. The purpose of this phase of the

investigation was to ensure maximal control over the independent variables

of Cntconre Quality and Intensity and the variables defining Levels of

Causality. P.atings of Aztivity arn agent Status w:re included because

these variables hav' been shourn o irfluernc: AR (Wright, 1963). ,inety-

two stories were presented and all ratings :.a're made during a single

large-group session. Instructior.s were sirmlar to those used by Shaw,

Briscce ar.j Garcin-Estcve (l168) in their prcl irinm ry inve:stig-ation.

(See '.ppndi:-: .B-1 for the instructions.) UIith the e::ception of Status

and Cutcom,- Quality, ratings were nade "on a se"er.-point (0-6) scale.

Subjects were asked to indicate the probable Status of the agent Ly

circling High, A.verage, Low or Indeterminate. Judrents of Outcome

Quality were obtained by instruct ing subje-cts to use a plus sign to

indicate a positive outcome, a minus sigir to indicate a negative outcome

and a zero to indicate a neutral outcome. Outcome Quality and Intensity

were judged within the context of the story rather than separately

because of thl: ex.ttreme lengLh of the questionnaire.

Prior to obtaining the ratings, the criteria for selection of items

(i.e., stories) on variables defining Lcvel: of Causality were estab-

lished as follows: Acceptable Level 3 items should receive rmfean ratiring.

of 1,.0 or high' r on Foreseeability and mean ratings of 1.5 or J.ouer on

Interntionality ar'd Justification; acceptable' Level !, items should be

rated as high (h.O or highe-r) on Fc.rese.'ail ity an.] Inltntoronalit y and

lou (1.5 or lower) on Justification; and acceptable Level 5 items sl.ould

be rated as highi (L.O or higher) on all three Levels variables (i.e.,

Foraseelability,, Intentionality and Justification). It was deciided that

any story would be eliminated if its outcome uere classified as positive

by more than 31 of the sample. High Intensity, items would then be those

whose outcomes were rated as 5.0 or higher on Intensity, Lc.u Intensity

items should d ha.'e Outcome Intensity ratings of 1.1 or lower. Items would

be eliminated which featured an acent hose Status was judged to be

either high or low Ly a majority of the sample. Finally it was decided .

that, as far ;.s possible, items should be e.-rated for Causality anl

Act ivi ty.

The criccria, as stated above, apparently were too rig-irous. Out

of il prospective Level 3, Low Intensity items (7 Commission and 9

Cmiission), none ijas acca-eptale in terms of the Foreseeability criterion.

Foreseeability ratings averaged only 2.4 for the 16 prospective items

and did not exceed 3.5 in any case. It is interesting to note that one

of the prospective Level 3, Low Intensity items included in the present

investigation had been used previously by Shaw and Reitan (1969) as a

Level 3 item. Although Foreseeability was judged high for this item by

Shaw and Reitan's subjects (Shaw, personal communication), the subjects

who participated in the present investigation rated Foreseeability as

only 2.2 on a seven-point scale. The reason for this discrepancy is

unknown. However, Shaw (personal communication) has suggested that

perhaps the subjects who participated in the present investigation inter-

preted "Foreseeability" to mean virtual certainty that the depicted action

would produce the particular consequence portrayed in the story, whereas

the subjects who participated in the earlier investigation construed

"Foreseeability" to mean the likelihood that a particular action would

lead to harm in general, in the case of a norm violation, or benefit in

general, in the case where the behavior exceeds normative expectations,

to some unspecified person or persons. In any event Foreseeability

ratings tended to be low for all of the prospective Level 3 items pre-

sented during the preliminary investigation.

Ratings were more satisfactory for prospective Level 4, High Intensity

items and eight items (four Omission and four Commission) were able to

meet the criteria for Foreseeability, Intentionality, Justification and

Outcome Intensity. The results again were disappointing for the 15 pro-

spective Level b, Low Intensity items included in the questionnaire. Only

one was acceptable in terms of all criteria and this was an Omission item.

Only two of 15 prospective Level 5, Low Intensity items were acceptable

in terms of all criteria and both of tiisc items featured Omission.

Moreover acceptable rat ings for these items were- limited to female

meriic-s .f the- sample sir:ce males tended tc, give these items lo1

IrItcntt ionality ratings.

Finally, none of the Level C, Higi- Intensity stories that were

presented elicited acceptable ratings on all criterion variables. In -

tLit ionality, ratings tencd to be extremely low for the eight Omission

stories, and the Corummi ss ion stories elicited urna.-ceptable ratings on

Outcome Intensity, Justification or Intent ional ity.

InI sunrlumar,, nonec of the OCmi ssionr stories presented for rating during

the initial preliminary, investigations was acceptable in terms of criteria

stated for either the Level 3, Low. Intrensity or the Lev.el ,High Intensity

combinations. One Omission story me-t the criteria stated for the Level

h, Lou Intensity, cobinrt ion, and two or :ore each- of lthe COmission stori. s

met the criteria stat-d for the Le.el 3, High Intensity, tie Level 1;,

High Intensity and Lhe Level 5, Lou Intensity comrrbinations respecti"ely.

The results of ratings of CoMLmission stories were less stisfactory'. One

story met the requirements stated for the Level 3, High Intensity com-

bination ard four scorie7s .ere acceptable in terms of criteria estab-

lished for Level h, High Intensity. Iione of the Conmrissicn-' stories,

however, met the requirements stated for Lev'el High Intensity or for

any of the Low Intensity x Levels corimbinations.

Taken togeth-er, the results obtained duringL the- initial rating

session were surpris-ing in view of the fact, first, th3t prior to the

session, each c.f the 52 stimulus items had b-en properly classified

by, an e:.pert with respect Lo its intended Level-delirLeatin va.riables

and i-ts Outcoi., intensity; and secondly.-, the instructions and procedures

used to obta in rat ings were c-mpairable to t.ose employed by Shaw (e.g.,

Shau and Reitan, 1969; Shaw, Briscoe and Garcia-Esteve, 1968) in earlier

investigations of this nature. In reviewing the results it became ap-

parent that most of the stimulus items failed to meet the criteria

specified for the various combinations of Levels of Causality and Out-

come Intensity because of unacceptable ratings on Foreseeability, Inten-

tionality, Outcome Intensity, or on two or more of these variables. With

respect to the first of these variables, it seemed likely that subjects

had interpreted "Foreseeability" to mean virtual certainty that the

depicted action would result in the particular harm to the particular

victim portrayed in the story, as opposed to the likelihood that the

action might conceivably lead to some degree of harm to some person or

persons. The latter meaning is what the writer had intended to convey.

With respect to the second of these variables, subjects tended to at-

tribute intentionality only when the agent's action or inaction, in

the case of Omission was completely voluntary (i.e., free of external

coercion). Thus it seems likely that they had interpreted "Intention-

ality" as denoting an active desire on the agent's part for the depicted

outcome, as opposed to his willingness to produce it or permit its oc-

currence, either because of internal motivation or because of external

coercion. Again the latter meaning is what the writer had intended to

conv.'ey. VIiti respect, to Outcome Intensity ratings, it was felt that

the ratings mna have been inflated because outcomes were rated within

the context of the stories rather than separately as in most previous

invest iQtions of .his nature (e.g., Sulzer, 196h; Shaw, Briscoe and

Garcia-EFtevc, 1 6C; etc.). Another factor which may have biased the

ratings wias the ieenr.h of the questionnaire which, of course, was ex-

cessive. Fii,=.ll, the a.ernt's status apprrentli. wi not salient to the

subjects since they showed a marked tenldencylC' to i.c the Indeterm.inant

category for virtually. ev-ery item.

In vieu of the foreg-oing considerations, a decision was made to

conduct a second rating session with appropriate r;visions in stimulus

materials and procedures. Accordingly instructions for rating outcomes

outside the contt of th i:r respect i. stories were' prepared, and the

outcomes themselves were presented as simple statements on a separate

response sheet t. Irnsriructions for rating stories werc comparable to

those used in the initial session ex:ceptat t the definitions of Fore-

setability, an Iin-ten'.. ionalit y: were revised and all references to out-

comes and to StaLus rere el iirminated. (The revised instructions for

rating stories are present ed in Appendix Appendix B-3 contains

instructions used for rar.ing Outcorme Quality and Intensity.) Sttri '

which had elicited highly unacceptable ratings during the inrtia session

were discarded, and the rer dining stories, h2 in number, were assembled

iri booklet form. Subjctcs consisted of an independen-t sample of ]h mals

and lb feriales arid were recruited from the target. population. They wer'

asked first to rate the outcomes; following this, th-' stories were pre-


Eight of the. h2' stories presented for rating during this session

uere defs- ned to represent the Level 3, .ow Intensity combination. Four

of these featured Cvnission and the remaining four stories featured

CorrLmission. F'emalc members of the sample gave all of these stories un-

acceptable ratings on one or inc:re criterion variables. The male members

cf the sample gv'e. cne each of the Cmiissicn and the ,Commirssion stories

acceptable ratings cn all criterion variables e:: c-pt F'oresecability.

Mean Fore'-;se.ability', rat ings by, males equaled 3.L for bothl of these

stories. Ratings by males were highly unacceptable on one or more of

the criterion variables for the other prospective Level 3, Low Intensity

items presented.

Of the seven prospective Level 3, High Intensity items presented

(four Omission and three Commission), females rated Intentionality as

relatively high for five, and for the two remaining items their Justifi-

cation ratings were unacceptable. Ratings made by males were more in

line with expectations since they gave two items (one Omission and one

Commission) acceptable ratings on all criterion variables.

Seven prospective Level h, Low Intensity items were presented.

Four of these featured Omission and the remaining three featured Com-

mission. Ratings on all but one of the items were acceptable for both


Females made acceptable ratings on five of the six prospective

Level h, High Intensity items and for four of these the ratings for

males were entirely acceptable.

Eight prospective Level 5, Low Intensity items were rated. Both

sexes gave two items (one Omission and one Commission) acceptable ratings

on all criterion variables. Ratings on the remaining items failed to

meet the criteria stated for Intentionality, Foreseeability or both.

No acceptable Omission items emerged for either sex for the

Level 5, High Intensity combination. Intentionality ratings were much

too low for all of the Omission items and for two of the three Commis-

sion items that were presented. The remaining Commission item elicited

acceptable ratings on all variables for males but not for females.

To s_-rarize, the ratings obtained during the second session were

acceptable for only two Level 3, High Intensity items (one Omission and

one Corrmli Jic.in), and acce-ptable ratings on these items uere restricted

to ales. One each of the Omi ssionr and Corrrii ssion items for the Level.

3, Lou Intensity corrbir.atiorn yielded ratings that approached the stated

criterion for Forc'seeability, but again these ratings were restricted to

male:. Several items yielded ratings that were entirely acceptable for

each of the. Le.'el coiibinrat ions. However, only one each of the Oriission

anrd Commrirssion items for the Lee'.'l Lou Inte-nsity coratiination ui-re

acceptable, and ,none of the items met the criteria stated for Level ,

High Intensity.

At this point, it was felt that it would ie unreasonable to ex:pct

t.o match CIr, mission arnd Commrri ssiorn items on all criterion variables.

Therefore, a decision was made to proceed with the e:xpe riment proper

utiliziing itepis :-hich had elicited ratings daurirg the second rating

session that apiFproached a.'cceptabil ity in sterns of the selection criteria.

Because tihe ratings for females uere entirely unacceptable in term: of

the criteria established for the Le'.'el 3, Lou; Intensity corr.inrati.on,

ratings for males only '.re: used in selecting items. One item was

selected to represent each combination of Violation :1 Out come Intensity

at Levels 3 and L. Howe-;er Le'.'el 5 was represented in the design only

by stories having Low Intensity outcomes since, at this Level, no accept-

able Omission, High Inten;ity items were available. Thus altogether u .n

items were selected. (Sec Appendi:x: C-3.) Wherever possible an effort

was made to match the 0l,-ii S ion and Corrniission it.e'r:s within each comblina-

tion cf Levels :: OuLcomie Inr.esr, it'. on the c rite:rion variables (i.e.,

Foreseccai it.y, Intenrt ona1.ity, Just ifi action, Outcome Ir.tens in,

1The-ref.r-r it r ne. -ecsar to restrict the Experimrent p roper to
rIa l s.

Causality and Activity).

Following selection of items, an analysis of variance was performed

on ratings obtained for each criterion variable. (A summary of each

analysis is presented in Appendix D.) The results of the analysis of

variance performed on Foreseeability ratings for the ten items yielded

a highly significant F(p<.001). Comparisons among means for the individ-

ual items showed that the two Level 3, Low Internsity items differed

significantly, from all other items except Lhe Omission,Level 3, High

Intensity' item. In addition, the Omission, Level 3, High Intensity iten

received signiificantly lower ratings on Foresecability than the Comriis-

sion, Level L, Low Intensity item. To other differences were significant.

In particular, no differences in Foreseeability were apparent between the

Omission and CoiDisiission items within any of the Levels x Outcome Intensity

comb i r i ions.

The results of the analysis of variance performed on Intentionalit.y

ratings again y'ie2ld'd a highly significant F(p<.001). Individual com-

parisons revealed that all of the Level 3 items (Omission, Lou and High

Intensity; Cormmissicn, Low and High Intensity) had significantly lower

ratings on Intentionality than any of the Level b or Level 5 items. In

general, Intentionality ratings were higher for Level h items than for

items at Le7-l :. Finally, there were no significant differences between

the Omission and Cc.Lm.jis ion items within anr. of the Levels : Outcome

Intensity corbi nat.ions.

The results of a thirJ analysis showed that the ten items differed

significantly (p<.C001) on Justification ratings. Specifically the two

Level 5 items (C.iissI:.n, Low Intensity and Ccmrrf.ission, Lou Intensity)

wec-e sign.ficanLly higr.z:r on this variable than each of the other eight

items. The tuo Level 5 items did not differ from each other on Justi-

fic.ation nor were any significant differences apparent among the other

eight items.

The results of the analysis on Outcome Intensity ratings indicated

that each of the items designated as "Low Intensity" differed signifi-

-cantly' from each of the items designated as "High Intensity". Further-

more no signi icant differences were apparent among High Intensity itcr.s

or among Low Intensity items.

The results of a fifth analysis showed that at Level for both Low

and High Intensity and at Level 3 for High Intensity only, the Omission

and ComrriiLsioli items did not differ significantly from each other on

Causality. The Omission items, hoev'.er, were: rated significaitly' lower

on Causality,, for the I.c.'cl 3, l.o Intensity and the Level 5, Low Intensity'

conLinations than w?re the corresponding Comrmission items. Tne mission.

Le-el 3, Loir Intensity item received significantly lower ratings on

Causality than did each of the other items, with the e:.c-,ption that there

were no significant differences between it and the Omission, Level 5,

Lou Intensity item.

The results of the analysis on Activity ratings re'.'aled that at

Level 3 for Lbo',h Loi and High Intensity and at Level 5 for Lotr Intensity

only, the Cmis.ic-r. item. received significantly lo;er ratings than the

cc'riesporiding C.ommission items. For the Level 8, High Intensity conbina-

tion, the Cnri:ssion item uas again significantly lower on Activity tiian

the ,Cormi sion, item. Hwe.'evcr, no difference uas apparent between the

Omission and Coirjnmission i teis at Leve.i i, Lowi Int-ensity. Finally the

Onission, Level 3', Lo-; Intensity item received significantly lower

Ac-ti. ity rating than did any of the c:-her nine items.

The results of the analyses performed on Causality and Activity

ratings were somewhat disappointing but not unexpected since Omission,

in contrast to Commission, is a relatively passive means of violating a

norm. However, the results for Outcome Intensity and Justification

uere completely acceptable in every respect. Each of the Low Intensity

items had significantly lower ratings on Outcome Intensity than each of

the High Intensity items and there were no significant Intensity dif-

ferences among any of the items designated as either Low or High. The

tuo Level $ items selected for inclusion in the Realistic Content

Questionnaire received significantly higher ratings on Justification

than did any of the other items (i.e., those for Levels 3 and 4) but

did not differ significantly from each other. Moreover there were no

significant differences on Justification among any of the Level 3 or

Level 4 items. The requirements of the experimental design dictated

that there be no significant differences among any of the items on

Foresecability. However, analysis showed that the Level 3, Low Intensity

item: were rated significantly lower on this variable than any of the

other items. Also the Omission, Level 3, High Intensity item received

significantly lower ratings on Foreseeability than the Commission, Level

I, Lou Intensity item. Fortunately no other differences were signifi-

cant. Ideally, Intentionality should have been rated low for all Level

3 iters and uniformally high for all Levels 4 and 5 items. In fact

Intentionality ratings tended to be higher for Level h items than for

items at Level 5. Otherwise the requirements of the design were met.

Appendix D-l presents mean ratings on each of the matching variables

for each iter, included in the Fealistic Ccnteent. Quest iorina ire.

Order- of FTi rscnt Lat ion

Pre'.io:us research (c.g., H elson. 19?; IcGr.arvcy, lp93) has shoun

that subjectss' responses to itemsi may t.be influenced by the order in

which the i te, n are presented. Accordingly the ten realistic content

stories comprising the test items for Ex:peri:ment I uere arranged in

randomi-redd ordr an iere preceded in presentation by ten similar con-

trol stories. The ,purpose of presentir:.g the control stories first was

to permit subjects to establish a frame of reference prior to responding

to the critical (i.e., tsst) items. The' position of each of the control

and test items is shourn in Appendix C-3.

Exper ime;C-L 2

Because of the' fliwis inierzene in the E.calistic Content Questiori-
r:aire a deci c on iJas mader, t Io cocl'.inuct an a.d itior.al e-.:pcrimenrt utilizing

items of an abstract (i.e., :conrtent-free ) nature. In this reg-crd, the

lead of previous investigators (Su-.:-r, 196b; Shaw and Schneid.r, 19?-,b)

who -ha'.'e utilized ab Ltract stimulus marterialm i: r::..:. rimcnts on AF. was

followed. For the present expF:r iment n-,e a bsract structure item was

constructed to represent each cell in a 2 : x: 3 :': 2 design, involving, Norm

Violatioon (Cmission and Coiir.,ission), L ..'?ls of Causalit, (Le'.els 3, h

and ,$) and Cautccome Intensity (High and Low). Thus altogether there was

a total of 12 items, si:-: Cmission and si[:: xCoTrrission, representing each

coLmination of Le.'els :.: Outcome Intensity.. All items featured a hypo-

thetica chara:rtr (''r) who .us.=. descriird as causing a negat.ie outcome

21n addition..' to the proble-ns a iscusse-d abo.e, the fact that each
cell of the design ras represented by o:1 one-? i :in miadc it impossible
to assess the rcl ia ili try of the 2ue St iL:,rn'ire AV lso since the- e'.el 5
Hi gh Intensit. comr in tonss w:erer net repre .--sented in this question rire
at all, c-ertain of the. hypo -theszs could ;iot be fully c'.'a; luated.

("bad happening"), either because he failed to engage in behavior which

was required of him by virtue of his status as a moral being (Omission),

or because he engaged in behavior which was forbidden to him, again by

virtue of his status as a moral being (Commission). In the case of

items having a Low Intensity outcome, P was described as causing some-

thing to happen that was "a little bit bad". For High Intensity outcome

items he was described as causing something to happen that was "very bad".

Level 3 items emphasized the absence of Intentionality to bring

about the given outcome but the presence of ability to foresee it. Items

at Levels h and 5 featured both Foreseeability and Intentionality. Level

5 items emphasized that most other persons would have acted as P did

under the circumstances whereas Level LI items contained no such state-

ment. Following are representative items for Levels I and 5.

P engaged in forbidden behavior and, as a result, he
caused something to happen that was very bad. He intended
to :ause it. [Commission, Level 4, High Intensity]

P failed to engage in obligatory behavior and, as a
result, he caused something to happen that was a little
bit bad. He intended to cause it but most other people
would have acced in a similar fashion under the circum-
stances. [Omission, Level 5, Low Intensity]

The itemris wrerc arranged in randomized order and instructions were

prepared i;ich c.--:pl ined among other things what is meant by "obligatory"

and ".forbidjde," l-,ehav'ior. The abstract structure items are presented in

Append!i: E-3 3rn- the instructions used for the AR and AS portions of

the e:-:perir;.ent are presented in AFpperndices E-1 and E-2 respectively.




Sub, j c ts

The isubj:ct s for this _.:p r i imert were 27 male volunter-rs (age 18-

25 years) from in trodu:tory psycholo'gy courses at the l.ini'e rsity: of

Florida. The data for or.e subject were ircoriplert and h-:ric.e iere-. dis-

carded for purpos- f arly,'sis. Thc remainiri s-ub ects ere divided

equally into :-Lo *:.:x rir.ental groups.

St irmulu. i'-'iter ials

'TheP :timiluus mater ials iere described in detail in th.ic. re:cedin,

chase ter. Briefly, the cons i; tad of ten control ar.d ter,n test items (i.E.

short stories'! sihich r :'pre Fsented combinat iorns of threc inJeperndert var-

iables: Violatrion (V), Le;:'ls (L) anrid -Outcore Inten sity (I). The t n

control items o prec-ded thc test items and iEre inclu-ied rmere ly for pur-

poses of assuring that r.u- bje:cts would hae an established frame of' refer-

ence prior to makl:ir.g their judgrmHcnts on the test items (McI':r..'vey, 1 9'L).

The ten tesc itei's uhich together comriprised the basic i isturrient

used to mrasurc uP. and .AS were arranged in rando,',iizJed crder, put in

questionrna rcz form an: reproduced in two separate resporns.- booklets.

These booklets were identical except for the q-iesti:cri which fol]ow'd.

each item. In the AS form of the bolet this question pertained to the

assi-rE"rn;nt of puni ishm nt whi-~ in the P.' form it pErtaired to the agent.'Z

responsibility for the depicted outcome. For both forms the answer

alternatives "Yes" and "No" appeared directly beneath each item, and a

five-point rating scale ranging from one to five was printed alongside

the former alternative. Also for both forms the ten test items were

preceded by the ten control items. (See Appendix C-3 for the test and

control items.)

All subjects received both the AR and AS booklet forms but the order

of administration of the forms was varied so that half of the subjects

completed the AR form first and half completed the AS form first. Ac-

cordingly half of the AR forms were labelled AR, AR-AS for purposes of

identifying the form and order of administration respectively, and the

remaining AR forms were labelled AR, AS-AR. Likewise, half of the AS

forms were labelled AS, AR-AS and the other half were labelled AS, AS-

AR. Finally in order to ensure differentiation among responses made by

individual subjects, each subject was assigned a number from one to 27

and this number was recorded on the subject's AR and AS booklet forms.

Adninr 3trat ion

The subjects were assembled in one large-group session for admin-

istration of the AR and AS forms of the response booklets. Two experi-

mental groups, consisting of 13 and lb subjects each, were then created

by means of the distribution of booklet forms. Subjects who were given

the AF: form first were required to respond by indicating the agent's

degree of responsibility for each depicted outcome. Following this,

the AS forms were distributed and they responded to the same items again

by indicating the degree of punishment deemed appropriate. For the re-

mzainingi su. objects the order of response was reversed. Assignment of sub-

jects to the two groups was made random:, and in .'-ry',' case the first

set of boo klet forms ,iwas collected before the second set was, distributed.

Gncriral instruction ns concerning the details of administration were

given orally at the start of the session. Specific instructions were

provided irn mimeogra'phed form for each response form. The kR instruc-

tions irf, oriJecd subIec ts that the-' .re re to indidcVate wohethe-r the agent

w.as responsible for each depicted outcome by ci-rcling "Yes" or "H'o"

and that, if the :, circled "Ys", they should indicate the degree of b-is

responsibility by ci rcling a number from one (minimal responsibility )

to five (maximal re spons ibility'). The follc, ing definition of responsi-

bility was used: "If a person is responsible for something that means

he might be blame-d or thal-nkr d for it.." AS instructions iraormed th- sub-

jects that they were t-,. indicate whether the agent should be punished

b- circli ng "Y''s" or "No." and that they should indicaLe tlis degree of

punirshriernt deemed appropriate by. circling a nurt.er from one (minimal

puni shme.-.nt to five (mra:-:irnal puii 'shrent). Tnus for both AR: and AS.

ratings in effect were mad-e on a six-point rating scale ranrginrg from

zero (no responsibility or no punishment) to five (maximal responsibility

or maximal punishnri:nt ). (Appendices C-1 and C-2 present the spe-cifi

instruct ions used for IA and AS respect ively.)

The instructions wer apparently adequate although ore subject

failed to make a judgr.ent on one of the test ittemns and consequ.intly his

data had to b- discarded. The, til.e requiredJ for completion of both

response. forms averaged -appro:.inat- ly 30 minut-es: and all subjects com-

pleted the task within l minutc.:. Ar. the rend of th- session the experi-

menter a t-:m.7pted to ansir:r su-,bjects' .questions r: and th:' s-ubjects wL.ere then

disrr.i ssed.


Table 1 shows mean AR and mean AS ratings for Experiment 1 test

items as a function of Violation (V), Levels (L) and Outcome Intensity

(I). Because of the failure to devise an acceptable Omission, Level 5,

High Intensity item, two related analyses of variance were performed

on these ratings. In the first analysis only the ratings obtained for

items having Low Intensity outcomes were utilized to permit comparisons

among.Levels 3, h and 5. This analysis is summarized in Table 2. For

the second analysis ratings at Level 5 were not included so that the

effects of Outcome Intensity might be assessed. This analysis is sum-

marized in Table 3.3 Because each of these analyses was performed in

part on the same data, probability values (P's) were doubled; these

revised probabilities are reported in Tables 2 and 3 and in the text.

Order Effects

The two Orders of administration of the response booklets were

counterbalanced in an attempt to increase the generalizability of the

findings. The effect of Order was also assessed. Tables 2 and 3

indicate that, for both the analysis of ratings of Low Intensity items

only (Levels 3-5) and the analysis of ratings of Low and High Intensity

items (Levels 3 and h), the main effect and all interactions involving

Order produced F-ratios with associated probabilities in excess of the

chosen level of significance (.05). Therefore we cannot conclude that

Order of administration of the response booklets affected subjects'


3Computations for this analysis were performed by the University of
Florida Computing Center.

Table 1

iear, Attribution of Responsibility and Assignrrmernt of
Sanction Ratings for Each
Realist ic Cont.nrt Cst It em

HlMean Ratin gs
It em AR AS Ccrr.irL--

Omission, L'.eve 3,L Lo.r 2.00 1.380 1.69
Corirriiss iOn, Le'..'1 3, Lou 2.8 .8. 1 .85
COmission, Le'.v'l 3, High 3.5L 3.92 3.73
ConLission, L:veli 3. Hign r.3, ".19 h.27

Omission, Level h, Lu 3.69 2.31 3.00
Conr.issioin, L '.el. Lou 3.81 2.31 3.06
Omissiorn, Level L, High 2.62 2.96 2.79
Courirmission, Le'.el !i, High h.92 U.85 L.S

C'missi on. Lev ] 5, Lou .1. .68
Commri sion, Levcl r, Low 1.69 .08 .86
> Lc,' 1 d, ,.

Table 2

Summary of the Analysis of Variance for Attribution of
Responsibility and Assignment of Sanction Ratings for
Low Outcome Intensity Items, Experiment 1

Source df Mean Square F P*

Total Between Ss
Order To7-
Total Within
Violation (V)
Levels (L)
Mode (M)
Lx M
Vx O
L x O
Vx Mx O
Lx Mx 0
.V x L x 4 x 0
Total Error Within
error w!
error w2
error wvr
error w/4
error w5
error w6
error w7

Total for Experiment







'1 .59
M.S. Tested
V, Vx 0
L, Lx O
M, M x 0
V x L, V x L
Vx M. V x M
LxM, Lx M:
V x L x x 0

-Revised P



UC-~--WC-- -I --------~---

able 3

.Suir!ir,' of th- Arnaly',sis of Varianc~'e for Attribution of
Resp.onsibi 1 i ty and Ass ignrari-nrt of Sanction F:atings
for L-'e.,cls 3 and 1, E:p-~r iment 1

Sour .c df iMean Squsar-: F P-':

lotsl Eetween Ss

Order (0)
Total Within
Violation (Vi
Leve'1s i(L
Intenrsity (I)
MNodc ("'i
V :: L
V: I

L >:
Ix M

V :: L >: I
V :: :*: M
V x I :*: M
L : L: I : 1
V x L :: 1 :: H,
V x: 0
L :*: C
I ;:: 0
11 :*: O
V ;L 0
V :*: I :*: 0
V : 0: 1 O
V :.: II :,. O
L I :: 0
L :*: :*: 0
1 x H1 :: 0
V L I: I ;: 0
V ;: L Ix M 0
V : I : :1 x C





,2. t.,
0. 62
13. ec


1.13 1i.S.

12'. 16
21. 31
16. 81
50. 00
3 I.



M, .'S.


1I .S.

I .S.


N. S.
I. S.
N. S.

Table 3 Continued

Source df Mean Square F P-

Lx x Mx O 1 .78 1.05 N.S.
V x L x I x Mx 1 .31 .61 N.S.
Total Error Within 360 M.S.Tested
error wl -T 1.93 V, V x 0
error w2 21 2.57 L, I, x 0
error w 211 2.90 I, I x O
error w2 2h 1.86 M, Mx O
error w 214 1.19 V x L, V x L x O
error w6 21 2.27 V x I, V x I x O
error W7 24 .83 Vx M, V x M x 0
error we 21 1.46 Lx I, L x I x O
error w9 21 .95 L x M, L x M x O
error wlO 21 1.17 I x M, I x M x O
error wll 24 2.10 V x L x I,
error w12 24 .57 V x L x M,
V x L x Mx
error wl3 21 .50 V x I x M,
V x I x Mx
error W2l 21 .74 L x I x M,
LxIx MxO
error wl5 21 .56 V x L x I xM,
Total for Experiment 415

z--Revised P

Expe:r iTmental Var LiabI s

E:xamrination of Tbl: 2 reveals that, for the analsis of ratinrigs

of Lou Intrensit: itc- its, F-ratios for the following effects achieved an

acceptable 1ev.:l of significance: Lev.els (. ', fo''e o'f F.R spon se. 0'1),

the interaction betwueon Violation and NIode (Vx ,l) and the interaction

betweCenL Violation, Levels and Mode (V, :.x L 1: M'). The main ffect of

Violation wras not significant an:;, of course, Outcomin Internsity wias noot

represented since this analysis was perorr.med on ratings of Low Intensity

items on'l. Table 3 shows that, for the analysis of ratings of both

Lou and High, Intensit; itremr (Lev'els 3- and i onr,'l. the main effects of

all expo:1:, rimental variables (Violation, Lev:-es, Outcomi. Intensity and

Moe of F :spolse1', as well as virtually all of the. first-order and. oin

of the second-order interactions inr.'ol.'ing these e-ffects, .,were signifi-

cant. These effects .ill be consid red in detail and related to the

hyTthesezs in tih- following paragraphs

Attribution of P.Rsporsibil i:y (AR)

Hy-pothesis 1. Significantly greater responsjbili t uwill b-. attri-

but ed to an agLnt uha is linked to a negative: outcome by ie-3son of Coim-

rmission than to ant agent uho is linked to a similar outcorin: by, reason

of Omi ss sion.

Table h re'-eals mean AP. based on Low Int.nsit, it-.ms as 2.17' ancd

2.78 for OCmii;'ssion and CoirLmiss ion respectively. Table 2 presen's a

sumrimaary of the analy;Lis of variance peFrformed on these ratings. For

this analysis, the main effect .uf Viola-.ion failed to achl've- an accepc-

able level of s ignifLicaf n, indicating no significant diffrerience bt.re:en

CuOi ssion arnd Co!:'-i ss ion in terms of co.-ined AF and AS ratings.. Ho.we:ver

this analFr, sis did -.'i? d a significant (rev.is : p .,''0 ) Violation :: Mode'

Table bI

Mean Attribution of Responsibility Ratings for Omission
and Commission at Levels 3, 4 and 5 for Low Intensity Only

Norm Violation
Levels Omission Commission Combined

3 2.00 2.85 2.h2

4 3.69 3.81 3.75

5 .81 1.69 1.25

Total 2.17 2.78 2.47

interaction, and comrip;:ri sonrs among cell means rcvc.aled a significant

diffc'rcncc between CmOii s ion an':J Co.:i ssion Vrhen AR constituted the M'ode

of FRsp.ons (t=3.39; p<.-1). Thus H;-pot he-is 1 uas supported by the

results for Low, Intcnsity items.

Table 5 shous mean AR for corimbined Low and Hiah Intensity items as

2.96 for Cmissionr and 3.9 for CorrnrLission. The analysis performed on

ratings, for these items (see Table 3) ,yilde'd a significant F-ratio

for the Violation main effect, thus indicating that coiritined AR and AS

ratings for -Oission differed significantly from those for Comraiss'ion.

In addition, the interaction of Violation and 'code --ilded a significant

F-ratio and, here again, comparisons among cell means indicated that AR

was significantly higher for Comm.ission than for Omirssion (t=6.j3; p

.00). Taken t':.gethei these results prov.'id; strong support for Hypo-

thesis 1.

Hypothesis 2. IleMan FAR will be significantly grc-ater at L'evel h

than at either Levels 3 or 5 for both COission and Cormiussion.

This hypothesis was strongly supported by the resul-ts for Low

Intensity item.s. Table i shows that when Int.ensity vwas Lot. overall

AR averaged 2.h2, 3.75 and 1.2a for Levels 3, L and 5 respectively, and

Table 2 indicates that the main Cffect of Levels was highly significant.

Comparisons amon: mean ratings (.iR and AS combined) for LouwI nternsity

itens revealed that ratings at Level h were significantly grea ter than

ratings at either Levels 3 s (t=6.1; p<.005) or 5 (t=ll.6; p<.00') and

that ratiri. uwcre reliably greater at Le.'el 3 than at Level c (t=5.32;

p<.C0c). Th s.ecornd-:,rder intersct ion b.rturen Violation, Le vels and

Mode w-as also signif ica.t in this analysis, as shown in Table 2,

altho-ugh nicn of thhe other interaction involving Levels was significant.

Table 5'

Mean Attribution of Responsibility Ratings for Omission
and Commission at Levels 3 and h for Combined
Low and High Intensity

Norm Violation
Omission Commission








3.98 3.47


___I_ __ __ ____

_ __

_II_ _

_ _~ ~I_



[Mean AR for Clissioon and Coiwmissiron at Levels 3, L and 5 is presented

in Table, L. Diffe.'rences between each paii1 of means resultLng from the

various cc.binatiorLn of Violation, Levels anrd Mode were evaluated by

the Ilewman-te;uls test, as described by liner (1962). The results of

these tests indicated that, for both Omission anid Cornmissiorn, AR was

significantly greater at Leve'l i than at either Le.vels 3 or 5 and, in

addit ion, AP. uas sionifi: giant ly greater at. Level 3 than at Level -.

Hypothesis 2 recei.ed only partial confirmation from the results

of the analysis performed on ratings for Low and High Intensity items.

Table shows mean AR for Cm ission and Commission at Levels 3 and I

w iti ratings combined for the two levels, of Intensity. The correspond ing

analysis ,:,f 'variance is surrLnarized in Table 3. Inspection of the latter

table re'eals that the Le'vels m ain effect and both thi- Violation :.:

Levels and the Violation :.: Levels :'. intensiL' interactions produced F-

ratios i ith -ssociated prot abilities significant beyond the .5 l.evel.

Overall ARF averaged 3.18 and 3.76 for Le',els 3 and i respect iv'ely hence

when Violation was ign red, thec d difference was significant and in the

predicted direction. Ilewman-iKeuls test comparisons among means (combined

AFR and AS) result ing from the various combinat ions of Violaticn and

Levels showed that when the Norm Violation consisted of Cortmmission,

ratings were significantly greater at Level 14 than at, L:'..el 3 as pre-

dicted. However wFhen theN Ilorm Violation consisted of Omission, there

was no reliable difference between ratings at Levels 3 and b. The

latter finrdinq is, of course, contrary to the hTpothesis. Figure 1

shows mealn RJ ratinE:; at Levels 3 ani L for Omissiron anrd Corriission

and for Lou and High Intensity P.,referr.nce to this figure reveals that

trainn AF ratings f,.r Leve: l 3 i1ter.F are also inc lud.-d itn Figure 1 but
Lo w Inteisi., y only n ..as rapres-:. nts d at thi: Lc 1.


0-0 OL
O-0 OH
A--& CL


Mean Attribution of Responsiilitty Ratings for Omission (0)
and Cormission (C) Across Le';cls for Low (L) and High (H)



! 0

F iqure 1,

the difference, between Levels 3 and L i ere in the predicted direction

for all combinations of Violationt and Intensity e:.:cept Omission, High

Intensity. For the latter coimbirnat ion, a reversal was apparent. Com-

parisons among cell reans (combined ri- and AS) resulting from the various

co;rLbinations of Violationi, Levels and Intensity uere made using the

Ileuman- Ieuls test. The results of this test indicated that the reversal

that was obtained for Omission, High Intensity was significant (p<.C').

In addition, it lias found that the difference between means for Levels

3 and 1 uas not reliable for the Comrmission, High Intensity c:olirination.

The results for Lou Intensity, combinations (Omission and ,Co:rimission)

only were reliable and in the predicted direction. The latter finding

is cormpatible uiith the signif icant F-ratio produced by the Levels ::

Intensity interaction (see Table 3). fleuirian-KEuls comparisons amongg

cel means derived from this interact ion indicated no sig nificant d if-

ferenc:e between ratings at Lev.els 3 and i when Intensity was High.

However, uhen Inrternsity tras Lor., ratings were significantly greater at

Level li than at Level 3.

Hypothesis 3. For both kinds of Normr Violation, significantly

greater responsibility, will be attributed for outcomes of High Intensity

as compared with those of Lov Intensiry.

Due to the absence of an acceptable item for ti-he O, mission, Level 5,

High Intensity, comib-ination, this hypothesis could be assessed only, for

ratings at l-evels 3 arnd i. The results of the analysis of variance

s.urmari.ecd in Table 3 show that, the following, effects produced F-rat.ios

with associated probabilities significant at or bey-ornd the .01 level:

Intensity, Inter. it', :x: Nood and Violation x Inter.sity. Table 6 pre- cents

mean. AR for CvQission and C.TLmmission for Low and High Intensity iters.

Table 6

Mean Attribution of Responsibility Ratings for Omission
and Commission at Low and High Intensity

Norm Violation Low High Combined

Omission 2.85 3.08 2.96

Commission 3.33 4.63 3.98

Total 3.09 3.86 3.47

Overall AFR t.Ias 3-.09 and 3.86 for Low and Higii Intensit it5 c1s -respec-

tively, and this difference was significant (t=3.%; p<.005). Th-

Neiuman-IEcIls test was used to evaluate differences betwiun each pair of

means for the ',arzioj- cortminations of Violation and Intensit,:. The

results indicated that for both types of 1.lorm Violation, ratings (iK

and AS coribined,' for High Intens ity,' items significantly c:.: _-i:'cded rat ins

for Lou Irntnsity items. l-his result lends strong support to Hypothesis

3. An additional finding was that the effect of Violation on combined

ratings varied depending on Intensity. Specifically, AR and AS (combined

ratings) were greater for Cormmissicn than for iriission whcen Intensity

was High lut where Int.',ensity was Lou, there tas no significant differe-:unce

bcr.iew c: the tuo types of ,INorm Violation.

HTp thesis [i. Th-i effect of Violation :.ill Le attenu ated at Lcvecl

[4 (where it is clear that regardless of the nature cf his "offcinse",

the agent inter..s the outcome) and the Violation effect .L will be exaggerated

at Ledl .

This hypo.thsis could be fully, assessed by an analysis of ratings

for Loi. Intensity, items cnly since Level 5 was not represented in the

analysis of ratings for High and Lou Intensity items. Table L shows

imean AP. for Lowt.' Intensity itemss for the two types of IIorm Violation at

each Le'..l. The results of the analysis of variance performed on those

ratings is shown in Table 2. Although the F-ratio for the Violation

Levels interact ir-n failed to ?chi .'ve an acceptable level of signiifi cancer,

the Violation :.: Levels :. [-ode effect was significant at the .02 le.%el.

Differences b-et'een eacha; pair of means resulting from the various s com-

binations oi f Violacion, L .evel.s ar.d [iode 'i, re e-'aluated by' the lieu.man-

Keuls test. Trne re-.ult. of these tests indicated, first, that A'R was

significantly greater than AS at each Level for both Omission and Com-

mission. This finding will be discussed in greater detail below but it

should be noted here that itlends support to Sulzer's (196L) conception

of the relation of AS to AR. Secondly and most importantly for purposes

of Hypothesis 4, the results indicated that when AR comprised the Mode,

there were no significant differences between Omission and Commission at

Level U. However at both Levels 3 and 5, AR was reliably greater for

Commission than for Omission (p<.01 for both comparisons). Figure 2

show the interaction between Violation and Levels for AR graphically.

From this figure it is apparent that when AR constituted the Mode,

there were different Violation effects at the different Leyels. Although

the smallest difference was obtained at Level 4, the difference obtained

at Level 5, contrary to predictions, was not exaggerated relative to

that obtained for Level 3. Thus Hypothesis 4 received only partial sup-

port from the results of ratings for Low Intensity items.

Table 5 presents mean AR for Omission and Commission at Levels 3

and h; the means shown in this table are based on combined ratings for

Low and High Intensity items. Table 3 presents a summary of the corre-

sponding analysis of variance. Although the Violation x Levels x Mode

interaction did not produce a significant F-ratio in this analysis, the

interaction between Violation and Levels was significant. The latter

result indicates that for combined AR and AS ratings the effect of

Violation differed at Levels 3 and 4. The Newman-Keuls test revealed

that at Level 4, ratings for Commission were significantly greater than

ratings for Omission. However the difference between Omission and

Commission at Level 3 was not significant.

Obviously the effect of Violation was not attenuated at Level 4

- ---0
C ,O

-IC- -'-- a YP-~B 3CT- f l~-L _ 'a-Y~LI CL~I~~

Figure 2. M ean Attribut.ion of Responsibilit. y Ratings for Omission (i0:'
and CorjmisCion (C) 2t L'-cls 3, ) and 5 for Low' Iint.cnsity



H ..jii

E 0
_.Z o /


when ratings were based on Low and High Intensity items. On the con-

trary, the Violation effect was exaggerated at Level h and attenuated

at Level 3. Figure 1 presents mean AR ratings for the various combina-

tions of Violation and Intensity across Levels. Inspection of this

figure, taken in conjunction with the results of the analyses performed

on ratings for Low, and Low and High Intensity items respectively,re-

veals why Hypothesis h was contradicted by the results for Low and High

Intensity items. The inclusion of ratings for High Intensity items

clearly accounts for the results. That this is so is evidenced by the

significant F-ratio obtained for the Violation x Levels x Intensity

interaction (see Table 3). Newman-Keuls comparisons among individual

means (combined AR and AS ratings) indicated a significant difference

between Omission and Commission only at Level h when Intensity was High

(p<.01). This finding is, of course, incompatible with results obtained

for Low Intensity items (see above). The apparent incompatibility is

d.te however to the fact that the error variance was much larger for the

Newman-Keuls test performed on ratings for Low and High Intensity items

as compared with the error variance for the Newman-Keuls test performed

on ratings for Low Intensity items only. In any event, the pronounced

differences between Omission and Commission at Level h are attributable

to ratings for High Intensity items.

Hypothesis -. Relatively large differences between Low and High

Intensity will occur at Level 5, as compared with Levels 3 and I.

This hypothesis could not be adequately assessed by the results for

E:.'periri.nt 1 since Intensity was not varied at Level 5. Nevertheless

sonie r vCid.n:e relevant to the hypothesis is provided by the significant

Levels :-: Intnrsity and Violation x Levels x Intensity interactions that


tr-:rr obtainried in the analysis of ratings for L-_'e-ls 3 and l (se e Table 3).

Tablc. 7 pFresr-nts ri-:an AR for Lou and High Intrenrsity items at L -'ls5

anrd L. The Iclwrria-m n-Keuls te st re-.:eal-ed t.h:t at both Le:'.e-l 3 and Ls,

ratings (colrtbin-rd AR and AS) were significantlly greater for High than

for Loti Internsity. Fi gu re 1 shous mean AR at Levels 3 and L for OrT is-

sion and CcrmLmi ssion and for Lou. arid High Inrternsity. E:.amiinat ion of

this figure- re'.ve i ls that Lhe d iff:ere:nces betwe.r.-n mcanr for Lor arnd High

Int.cnsit'y te,'r.: in th-:e expected direction for CorrLrrission at both Levels

3 and arnd for 'mriission at ULc.'c-:l 3.. How. r-.- a re' v rs-l occurred for

C'ission at Lev',cl h. Thi-:e i[i-ewmrar-Keulj s test -waI us-d lo compar-e cell

m.:ans (,corrL.in: rid n AR: and AS) result ing from th.- variousus corr.inrit ions of

Violation, Lv-:els rad Intcrins ity. The results irdi-cated s7igrificarnt

diff-ercr:nc-cs b-ttrcen th.- mr-ens for Low and High Intensity for all Viola-

t ion anrd L,-:v ls coribinat ions e-.ce lit Cnni ss ion, Le .e- L i, -, ici was wh-:rc

the r-:eversal occurred.

Assignment of San,: tions (AS)

H:,c.potthesis 6. Overall AS will d iffer iignificarntl lfor Omission

and Corrmi i.s ion, irith grc:at.er sanco tiorns being assignred for Corrniss io.r,

Table-: 2 sho-,cw- hat for th-:e analysis of /arianc- pcrform-ed on

ratings for Loi. IntLens ity,, both the 'Violatiorn :: i'lode arnd the Violation

x Levels : Node interactions re-:re significant. (lie ith-er th- Vi -olation

main effect nor the Violation 7. Levels intecract ion was significant for

hi is anal:is.) Table 8 shous that overall mean AS ratings for the t wo

types of lnormi Viclaticon were 1.28 and 1. 08, with greater sanctions

be ing assi ined to Cmissiorn. The iffe-rence be-:tueenr these P:eanris .:as niot

significant (:=1.11. p'-.05). TaL le 8 and Figure ,. shou i.a.n a.r : ra inrgs

for the two tvpas of ;ilrm Violat ionr at Level: 3, anrd a for Lou. Intensit-y.

Table 7

Mean Attribution of Responsibility Ratings for Low
and High Intensity at Levels 3 and h

Levels Low High Combined

3 2.42 3.94 3.18

4 3.75 3.77 3.76

Total 3.09 3.86 3.h7


Tabic 1E

Ivi can Ass -i mrint cf Sanct ion F.at in fc.r Orri ss i or, andr
Cr-rr -s s. cn at Lv c s 3, b and 5 for Low Tnt ers it.y Onll:,

.lortm 1fViol~ t ion
Lcv- 1s i s s i on C cr'r ss i o Cot i rin d

3 .3 I I5 1.12

L 2.31 2.31 2.31

T 5 .15 .G .11

Total 1.28 1.08 1.18





2 I



A, -


s \\



Figuri- 3. Mean Assignment of Sanction Ratings for Onrission (0) and
Commission (C) Across Levels for Low (L) and High (H) Intensity

--0 OL
0--0 0 H
SA-- C L

UI~II~O~~I~UD_ ~_~___;\Zp~y~L13lll~?~CIIC~--I~~L~~

Differences bet.uce n each of t.hse means were. ev.aluated by the Ileuman-

Keuls test. 1h results indic-ated no differences between Omission and

Cc.rrLuissicri at. Lc'.'.:ls L arid ; the ddiffe r' nce betuwe i Cii i ss ioin and

Commi-ssion at L.eve l 3 barely failed to achieve significance at the .05

leve Hypot.hc si., 1 obv'..iouly) was rnot supported by '.he icsults for

Lct: Intrnsit '. rIatings. The diff"ereri.c between ov.;rall mean AS for

COmission and Commiri ssi-on1, irhile r not stat ist iicall sigrni ficfiant, was in

the d i rct i on oF pp'c si te tc pred iti cions.

Table 3 shous that both the Violation main r, cffct. and the- Violation

x iode intera.ctiorn we're significant for the analysis of vai iaice. p.r-

forme on ratings for Low and High Intensity items. Ov'eall AS ratings

bascd on these items a'.'eraoed 2.6L and 3.0O5 for Omission and Corrimission

respectiv-elye as shown in Table 9. The dJifference between these means

was significant at the ?l .i.e'e (t=2. 6, d=--2L'). However insp cr ion

of Figure 3 reveals that AS ratings I-:ere greater for Coirrtniss ion than for

Omission only uihe- n Int'ntit -uas High. Hence it is concluded that

Hypothesis 6 was suppoi ted by the results for High, but not fci Lou

Intens ity t.rutcomes.

Hypothesis 7. A35 will be significantly greater at Level b than at

Levels 3 or 1 .

Refere.-ce to Table 2 shous that both the main effect of Levels and

the: Violation x: Levels : Node interact ion produced significant F-ratios

in the analysis of variance performed on Low Intensity ratings. The

results of comparisons of overall means (corImbinred AF' and AS) at Levels

*3, L and uwere presented above under -Hypot-hesis 2 in the section on

Attribution of ,Rsponsi ibilit. Biie-fly these rcsulrs shoved that mean

overall ratin[s were signifirca'nt y greater a.t Level Li than at either

Table 9

Mean Assignment of Sanction Ratings for Omission
and Commission at Low and High Intensity

Norm Violation Low High Combined

Omission 1.85 3.hh 2.6h

Commission 1.58 6.52 3.05

Total 1.71 3.98 2.85

Levels 3 or 5. and that ratings uere reliably greater at Level 3 than at

Level 5. Mean AS ratings for Omission anj Comiriission at Leve.ls 3, L

and 5 for Lou Intensit i temrs arc shoun inl Table 8. Additional support

for Hyp-othesi 7 is provided by the results of liewnman-Lels comparisons

amrron the means shorn in Table 8. The results indicated that for AS

as wiell as for AR, ratings were significantly greater at Level L than

at either Levels 3 (p.<.Ol'i cr 5 (Fp<.01) for bcotlh Ormiission and Coirrni ssion

and-, furthcrmrror, ratings r'ere significantly greater (p<.01) at Level 3

than at Level for both types of Violation. These findings lend strong

support to Hypothesis 7.

Mode of F.esponse- did not interact significantly with the Levels

main effect or .:ith any of the hi.-her-order interactions involving

Levels in the analysis of variance performed onr ratings for Low and

High Intensicy items (see Table 3). Hence the findings for AS '.ith

respect to the effect of Levels on ratings for High and Low Intensity

items arc icrcicial to the findings for AP.. The ]atter findings were

presented above in the section on Attribution of Resposr.sibi lity under

H,Tothesis 2. briefly, the results uere as follows. The main effe-t

of Levels was highly significant, with ratings being greater at Level L

than at Level 3. ('lean overall AS for Levels 3 and L is presented in

Tab le 10.) Secondly ihe Violation :-. Levels interaction wias significant

and the few-r-.an-Keul test revealed that when.r the liorn Vtiolation consisted

of Co.Lmiss ion, ratings were significantly greater at Lev.'l I than at

Level 3 as predicted. iWh en Cmir ssion constituted the Ilorm Violation,

ratings ac Leve-.ls 3 and hi did not differ reliabl-. ("Mean AS for ,mission

and Corurission a'. Lr:v.-]s 3 and i is! presented in Table 10.) Third a

significant F-ratio :.-.5 associated i -with the Le'.'el, :x Intensity inter-

Table 10

Mean Assignment of Sanction Ratings for Omission and
Commission at Levels 3 and h for Combined
Low and High Intensity

Norm Violation
Levels Omission Commission Combined

3 2.65 2.52 2.59

4 2.63 3.58 3.10

Total 2.6a 3.05 2.85

action, aid the iic-iman-Ec-ul test ind icated that uhen Intensity uas

Low, ratings weir reliably reater at L.evl L than at Level 3. However

no significant differences were: apparent betiueen L vels 3 and l. when

Intensity Las High. (Tabll- 11 presents the relevant means for AS.)

Finally the Lrcond-order interaction .between Violation, Levels and

Intensity was significant and the. NeEl.man-Kculs test was again used for

comparisons among cell means. The results of this test revealed that

Hypothesis 2 'w.as confirmed for both ,rOmission and Commission at Lou

Intensity (i.e., ratings were significantly greater at. .Lvel b than at

Level 3). Hol'.cver, 'hcn Intensity uas High, no differences were app_.are,'t

btitueen Levels 3 and I for Comr isi scior, while for Cmi sion, ratings uare

significantly greater at Lvel 3 than at Level Mean AS latirigs are

shown in Figure 3 for Omission and Comrnriis.s ion at Levels 3 an.ld I for Lou

and High Intensity.

Hyp other sis .. The effects of Intenrsi ty will be e'en more pronounced

for AS than for AF. Significantly greater sanctions are accorded for

High Intensity than for Lou Intensity outcomes.

Front. Table 3 it is apparent that both the Int.nscit' main effect and

the Intensity x Mode interactions produced highly significant F-ratios.

Table 9 shows that overall AS a'.veraged 1.71 and 3.98 for Low and High

Intensity respe ct ively. Thi difference beti.en these maians was.s highly

significant (=11.35; p<.005a). Whereas the difference -was. 2.27 between

mean ove'1all AS for Lou and High Intensity, the corresponding difference

for .AR ua only .77. 1hese findings provide :excellen t support for

H,-pothesis 3. Additional results pertinent to this h, ypothesis are, first,

NI an-hCuls conrpar sonr-s armonri the cell means reslt.r ing from the inter-

action of Lea..:;s and I-.tensiiy re-.vealed that ratr.gs (co-mbined P. and AS)

Table 11

Mean Assignment of Sanction Ratings for Low and High
Intensity at Levels 3 and h

Levels Low High Combined

3 1.12 4.06 2.59

4 2.31 3.90 3.10

Total 1.71 3.98 2.85

were significantly qreatecr for Highl than for Low Intrens ity at. both

Levels 3 and hl. Secondly, lewuman- Kruls comparisons, among cell rmeans

resulting from the interaction of Vi.o.lation and Intensity ind icated

significantly greater ratings (comb.incd AR and AS) for High than for

Lou Irntensity for both t types of 1,orm Violation. And finally, Iieuman-

Keuls compa-risons b.etiecren Low and, High Internsity ratings for thi vari ous

Violatior :.: Levels cortbi nat ions revealed significantly greater ratings

for High, as com.rparid with Low Irtensi ty for all corimbinations e:..cept

Omi-ssioin, Le'vel L. For the latter corrijination, t;-e difference was not


Hypo, thlsis 9. IntenIsity effects will be attenuated at. Level h

relative to Levc.cls 3 and 6.

Table 3 indicates that both the Level : x ntensit, and the Violaticn

x Levels :.: Internsit, interactions were significant for the analysis of

ratings based on both Lou and High Int-mnity, items. Siine Mod- did not

interact significantly ',.'ith cither the Levels X: Intensit,, or the

Violation :.: Levels :.. Intensity effects, the findings for AS with respect

to these effect- are comparable to those presented above for ARl. ['Mean

combined ratings (AR ard AS) were 1.7 and I.OO at Leve.l 3 for Lor ani

High Inter:ity rsyc.t lively; the respective means at Level L were 3.03

and 3.L8h. (Table 11 presents corresponding neans for AS.) The I'ew.uman-

Keu/S test revealed that at atboth Le.vel 3 and I, ratings (combi.ined AR

and PS) were signrificantly grearccr for High than for Lot Intensity.

Howie'.vr the diff.':er:ce between mean coirl ined ratings for Lou and Higli

Intensity was 2.23 at Level 3, whilel e at Level L the corr'espondinrg dif-

.f.'er ::-e .taI s y 1. For AS, th'i re.-spect ie differencesr were 2. h and

1.59. Therse re-sult accord cll with the hy ;.:' h'sis. WIith respecct to

the interaction of Violation, Levels and Intensity, the direction of the

differences between Low and High Intensity conformed to expectations,

with the exception that ratings were greater for Low than for High

Intensity for the Level 4, Omission combination. However the Newman-

Keuls test indicated that this difference was not significant. For

the other combinations of Levels and Violation, ratings were signifi-

cantly greater for High than for Low Intensity. (Mean AS ratings for

Low and High Intensity for the various Violation and Levels combinations

can be seen in Figure 3.)

Hypothesis 10. Small differences between Omission and Commission

will occur at LeveJ3 as compared with Levels 3 and 5.

For the analysis performed on ratings for Low Intensity only, Mode

of Response interacted significantly with the Violation x Levels effect

(see Table 2). Table 8 and Figure 4 show mean AS ratings for Omission

and Commission at Levels 3, h and 5 for Low Intensity. Inspection of

Table 8 and Figure h reveals that mean AS tended to be greater for

Omission than for Commission at Level 3 while the means were identical

at Level 4 and almost identical at Level 5. The Newman-Keuls test was

used to assess the difference between each pair of means. The results

of this test indicated no significant differences between mean AS for

Omission and Comf.ission at any of the three Levels, although the dif-

fercnce at Level 3 was almost significant at the .05 level of confidence.

On the bazis of these results, it is concluded that Violation had no

effect or A3 at either Levels 3, h or 5.

In the analysis performed on ratings for High as well as Low

Ir:nnsity, i;ode of Response did not interact significantly with either

the Violation x Levels effect or the Violation x Levels x Intensity





- O


/ 1
- .
O 10


Figur- L. l-sn Assir i rci lnt of anrction F.ating for Cir,issiorn (0C ) and
Co Jis :o i' ) Le'.' ls 3, i .:d 5 for Lou Int risit.y

_YI~ I__~ I~YI_ __ ___I U~

.ff:c t. Hence the results for AS with respect to these effects are

comparable to those presented above for AR. These results indicated

thalt at Level t, ratings (combined AR and AS) were significantly greater

for Commission than for Omission whereas at Level 3, the difference

between Omission and Commission was not significant. Secondly, Newman-

Keuls comparisons between means (combined AR and AS) for Omission and

Commission for each combination of Levels and Intensity revealed that

the difference was significant only at Level 4, High Intensity, where

ratings were greater for Commission than Omission. These findings

obviously are not compatible with the hypothesis.

Relationship Between AR and AS

Hypothesis 11. Mean AR will be significantly greater than mean AS.

This hypothesis received unequivocal support when Intensity was

Low. Table 12 reveals that overall AR averaged 2.47 for Low Intensity

items while mean overall AS was only 1.18. The difference between these

means was highly significant, as indicated in Table 2 by the large F-

ratio associated with the Mode main effect. Table 2 also reveals that

a significant Violation x Levels x Mode interaction was obtained in the

analysis of ratings at Low Intensity. Mean AR and mean AS for Omission

and Commission at each Level is shown in Figure 5. From this figure,

it is apparent that AR exceeded AS at each Level for both Omission and

Commission. The Newman-Keuls test was used to evaluate the differences

between AR and AS for each combination of Violation and Levels. The

results revealed that these differences were uniformly significant.

For the analysis performed on ratings for High and Low Intensity,

the main effect of Mode was also highly significant (see Table 3). Here

again overall AR was significantly greater than overall AS, with the

Table: 12

lMecan Attribution of Responsibility and Assigrurcnmt of
Sanction F.stings for C'rission and Cor, uriission at
Lou Intensi t,'

Mean rating
Norm V iolL ion AR AS Copt- i ned

Om i s i i on

Commi- ion




1 .08





I-----c-~-------- II----~





LL i

0--O o
0---- C
0----- 00

- ,


Figure 5. Nean Attribution of Responsibility (AR) and Afsig-r:enr of
Sanction (.AS) Ratings for Omission (0) a C.d Coir., mission (C)
Across Levels for Low Intensity

C~I~I __ _1

respective earns being 3.1.' and '. 2.8 (see Table 13''. Table 3 shous

that Mode interacted signrificarntly, only :,;itth Violation alnd Intensit,.

Mean AR and rmeai A3 for Cmissionr arnd Comr.issio for combir, ned Low and

High Inten ity are presented in Table 13. The le.marn-Leuls est in-

,dicated that A-: ijas sigrificartly greater than AS for both tpes of

!Norm Violati' on. N'ie AR and rearn AS for Lou and High Inte-nsity items are

houn in Table IL. Refrerece to his table re-.als tlht. although ARF

ex:ceedd AS3 at Lc, Inter, nsi;:., a sligYht reversal occur : at Hi-i Inttensity.

The I.'~:iran-i'.euls test indicated that t-he: diffcren:-e ass significant 3t

Lou Irnttc-nsi:ty p<.0l) but not at High Intensity.

Hypcot-hesis- 1?. The differ nces bet-.ercn Omission ar, CIorniis= ion

tiill be greater for AS than for AR.

Table 2 sho'.s- that a significant Violatirn :.: Mode interact ioi t.as

obtained in the analysis of ratings for Lo.r Inr.enrs'ity it.ers. Mean AS

ard mean AR for the two t,ypes of clorm ViolatI on t. CLou i';:eIsit y are

presented in Table 12. From this table it is apparTicn that AR. ujs

greater for Corr iss i.:n .thn for Omission, but that a sligh, rev-:eral

occurred lhern A. con':t ituted the ilode. Although this re-.:rsal umir not

sigr.ific:ant (t=l.l1; p>'.OC'), the d iffere-nce b. tt-:en Or ,mi-ssion and Con-

viission f:r AP. j?.s s'inificar.t (t=3.3'9: p<.01i These r-'-sults cast

cons iiderable d.r_.t o thle 'alid it.y of the h'T:,oL.hocsis for Lou Intens it,

out coim . The fi i:dinFi s iich respect, t t to he Violation :.: Lev'ls :: I.lode

interaction st- :nghen this doubt These findings erre reported above

for AF: and .AS s"parately. E'riefl.y they indicated no significant dif-

feren:ces ,bet ;en ,mi-isai..n an Co:-.issi.n at. anL Levl.:c for -3 h ren

the:: Mode of P'-: s.e tas AR. catinjs e .-re si i.-fi..iri cantly 1 or-ter for

CoI-Eissior than fcr :mission at Le',sel 3 and i hile th: difference was


Table 13

Mean Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment of
Sanction Ratings for Omission and Commission for
Combined Low and High Intensity

Mean Rating
florn Violation AR AS Combined

OCmission 2.96 2.6h 2.80

Commission 3.98 3.05 3.51

Tol 1 3. 7 2.85 3.16

Tabl, 1I

7ar, At. r i but. or, of F.: spor ii-. ,Iit-. rd A~ i.--Iircn of
Sanr- tion Eat i. .j 1cir Low arid H icl 1111itcri it

Irnt. ri it-, AP.


Hi qh

P'1. a r F: at., i rig

AS. Cornb], i rc d

1 .71



Total ..3L 2.85


I~ -"--~----~ --
-- --

"I---" -- -I------------

not significant at Level I. These differences are illustrated in

Figure 5.

WThen ratings for High Intensity were included and the Low Intensity

ratings at Level 5 omitted for purposes of analysis (see Table 3), the

results indicated that ratings were significantly greater for Commission

than for Omission for AS as well as for AR. However, reference to

Table 13 reveals that the difference between Omission and Commission

was not greater for AS than for AR, on the contrary, the difference was

greater for AR.

Hypothesis 13. Differences between AR and AS will be greatest when

Outcome Intensity is Low, as compared with High.

The Intensity x Mode interaction was highly significant, as shown

in Table 3. Table lh reveals that when Intensity was Low, AR and AS

averaged 3.09 and 1.71 respectively. When Intensity was High, however,

AS was slightly greater than AR, with the respective means being 3.98

and 3.86. The Newman-Keuls test indicated that the difference between

AR and AS was significant (p<.01) at Low Intensity, whereas at High

Intensity this difference was not significant. These findings are

compatible with the hypothesis.

Surrimary of Results of Experiment 1

Order Effects. The order of administration of the AR and AS

response booklets produced no significant effects.

Violation Effects. When the lNode of Response was AR, the results

indicated that ratings were significantly greater for Commission than

for COi:ission at Levels 3 and 5 when Intensity was Low, and at Level h

when Intensity was Hiiih. AR rating for Cn-ission ani Corr.,issicor did

not differ reliable at L.evel h 'lieni Inten ity 'ras Lo.O;. or at Level 3


:when Iriternsity was Hi gl. Wthenr AS cons. Iituted the ii.dc of FRespo.ns e,

rating for Omission rand Conmiission did not d iffer s significantly at arn,'

Le.-vl fcr the Low Inteins ty item.rs, although rati ngs tended. to be greater

fo:r Omission than fc.i Coc'missiion at Le.vel 3. WTien Intrenity uras High,

the 1 i fferernce: be tur -cn Cmi s s ior and Co'rrni 1. si on for AS were in the pre-

dicted JiI r-ct i';, but the differ-:nce vas significant only at Level t.

r.evls-. Effects. Wln Outccomer-: Inten iit wIas Lowi,,s both. PL and AS

wcr- signrificanritly gr' at.er at Lc-.vl I than at either L.vels 3 or o ,

and this finding held true. f:orL toth t:,-ps of 1.iorr Viorlation. In addition,

tct. hi PS. a.rd ,A. uecrc igrnificanrtly greater at Lc-.- 1 3 thar. at Le.-l 1 fr.o

Low Int-ns.ity ite.m s. Ho ce.er wh:oin IrnternsiLt: uas Hi gl and the Tl orm

Violat1ior cons listed of O. i ssion, a reversal aoccurr;d for both AFR and AS

so that rating .er-: significantly gr-.re-atfr at Lev,-l 3 thanr at L .eel L.

For the Coam iss ion, Hig h Internsit'y co, inrat ion trhe di fferrece Lbetw'.en

rating' ( A. and AS currmbincd) at Lecvels 3 anid i uas not significart,

although for both I'Modes of R-ispFcr nse.: tie diff-r-re.rc i:as in the predicted

direcct ion.

Inrtns it, EEffects. For both [iCodes of FRsponse, ratir s were

significa tly greater for High than for L-.w Inr.erinsity items for all com-

Stinariors of VIoL.at ion and Levels e:-:cept C a i ion, L-vel h, uwh-re the

diff:ere ce was r.iot significant. Differe-nces tetwreen Lo.: and High In-

tens ity items we: re lat ively mo re pronounced for .S as cc.mpared ith AP.

and the diffe-:rences were more e:-ggclrated at Lc'.'l 3 than at Le-'.l 1.

IHod e, I Effe c:.. lcan A'R. vas signif i caritly greater than mean AS at.

each Level for b-oth Cm1r.i sion and Cemirii ss ionr whe1' Intensit.-, was Low.

However .l -hen .terns ;:'y i-wa. High, the difference r ec.ti.ree AR< arir. AS rat wings

ias not igl if i cant Tnri latter d ifference ir.as in thle rredict.ed direct ion

for Commission but for Omission, a statistically nonsignificant re-

versal occurred so that AS ratings tended to be higher than AR ratings.


It is difficult to form any conclusions about the effects of Norm

Violation on AR and AS on the basis of the results of Experiment 1.

Both Causality and Activity have been shown to be important determinants

of AR (Kronstadt, 1965; Wright, 1963) and, unfortunately, the Omission

test items for Experiment 1 had significantly lower ratings on Causality

than the corresponding Commission test items at Level-3, Low Intensity

and at Level 5, Low Intensity. In addition Activity ratings were

significantly lower for Omission items than for the corresponding Commis-

sion items for all combinations of Levels and Intensity except Level .,

Low Intensity. In this regard, it is important to note that the differ-

ences between Omission and Commission at Level 4, Low Intensity were not

significant for either AR or AS ratings. However significant differences

between the two types of Norm Violation were found for AR for most other

combinations of Levels and Intensity; for AS, differences between Omis-

sion and Commission were significant only at Level 4, High Intensity.

Hence differences between Omission and Commission items in perceived

Causality and Activity of the agent might account for Experiment 1

findings with respect to the effect of Violation. Secondly, because

it had been tacitly assumed that negative norms are valued more than

positive norms in general, no attempt was made during the preliminary

investigation to equate Experiment 1 test items for the degree of per-

ceived importance of the various norms which were used to operationalize

definitions of Crissi oni nd n CorJ, ris-si.cn. Ho;i'.,er t!-,e importance to the

perceiver of the particular norm tha.i is violated inay ir rLf1.unce the ex-

Lent to uhich he is tilling to attribute responsibility or assign sanc-

tions to the agent, ilnespective of the outcome of the violation. Hence

Experiment 1 results with respect to Violation may ha.e been due, at

least in part, to uncontrolled variations among test items in perceived

se. eri ty, of the Wlorrm Violatio:n.

The findings uith respect to the effects of Levels are in general

agreement with findings reported by earlier investigators (e.g., Shaw

and Sulzer, 19 6; Sul.Fer, 196h) with one e:ceptio.n. For the present

experimentn, Le.vel h ratings -lere not reliably greater than ratings at

Level 3 for either AR or AS when Intensity was High. For the Cmission,

High Intensity, combination both AR and AS ueie significantlyy greater at

Leel'. 3 than at e.'.el h, arn. there were no reliable differences between

levels 3 and h for either Node for the Commrrissior., High Intensity com-

bination. Thrse results are difficult to explain, but it is possible

that they are attributable to variation amor:g items in degree of per-

cei'.ed importance of the norm violated. For example, in the Omission,

level 3, High Internsity, item, the agent is portrayed as a manufacturer

of poisonous products who fails to label his products uith a warning.

In the Omission, Le'.el h, High Intensity item he is portrayed as a

passerby iho fails to notify. the authocitie:s when he observes a woman

about to jump from the ledge of a tall buildiing. (See Appendi: C-3 for

a complete description of these items.) Bot.h items have similar out-

comes (i.e., someone is killed), but the norm which specifies that a

manufacture mu-t label poisonous products with a warnirg nayh be regarded

as more important, moie binding than the norm uhich specified that a

passerby must attempt in some manner to prevent a suicide. If so, then

this could account for the reversal w-1hich occurred at Le'.'els 3 and for

the Omission, High Intensity combination.

The failure to obtain higher ratings at Level h than at Level 3 for

the Commission, High Intensity combination may likewise be due to dif-

ferences between the items in degree of importance of the norms violated,

but it seems more likely that the failure is due to differences between

the items in attractiveness of the victim. In the Commission, Level 3,

High Intensity item the victim is a school child who dies as the result

of being hit in a school crossing by the agent's automobile. The agent

in this story is described as knowingly operating his car with no brakes.

In the Commission, Level i, High Intensity item the victim is the agent's

pregnant mistress, who dies as a result of being deliberately pushed by

the agent from the window of a tall building. These examples serve to

illustrate the many potential sources of uncontrolled variation which

may influence AR and AS ratings when items of realistic content are

used as stimulus materials. Fortunately this problem can be circum-

vented by using stimulus materials of an abstract nature, as was done

in Experiment 2.

Findings with respect to the effects of Intensity on AR and AS also

accord with findings reported by earlier investigators (e.g., Sulzer,

196h3 Shaw, Briscoe and Garcia-Esteve, 1968). Ratings were significantly

greater for High than for Low Intensity, and the differences were rela-

tively more pronounced for AS than for AR. The one exception occurred

at Level h for Omission, where the differences between High and Low

Intensity were not significant for either AR or AS. Here again, the

negative result may be explicable in terms of differences between the

Omission, Level l., High and Low Intensity items in degree of importance

of the norm violated or inr atrractivcnrss of t.h victim. Or possibly,

other uncontrolled sources of ar i action ma' a account for the reI-sult. In

a li:e ; ianner r, 'aria.ti n in item coonten c t may, account for the posit ;.,

results. ith respect to In.tensity effects. Hour- r this appears un-

l ib.,ely s ince: s i l,1 r f i :iings ha-c: :.-- report d by, manr, i rre st igators

using a uid: 'a ri ..-t, ocf st imulus mat -:rials (Sl-- r 19 :I ; L'.ronr.tadt,

19' 15967; Cuti ,.-crt: 19 66: Ual.t-r, 1966:'; Shaw, Pr i sco: and G-arc.ia-

Est..I-., 1,968; Shan and Schn i,:r.; 1969'b; iarc 1 a-Est.-'c and Shau 19, ;

Shaui, 15 69; arnd Sul:c1: and Burglas .198).

Expcrimnit 1 ure sults: support Sulzcr' (r19'I ) conr.: -pt: ion of AS as

dependent on, but not identical ,it- AP.. At Lou Intres it, AR'. mas s ignifi-

cant grerat.,er than AS at 2ach L'.-c.: for both c i ss ionr anid CorrmL imi ion,

while at High I nt-cnsity the d ifferen:rcs b: t. en lthe ?'iod-s of PRc sponse

was riot significantt. As czxpcctcd, AR. rnd AS fol .lo cd a similar trend

across Ler ls. Both w.-r,- si gnificanrtl:, gr.at.er at. Lc :. 1 I than, at either

Le'.--ls 3 -or her Intens ity' iwas Low and this finding he ld for both

typ. s of 'iorm VioTlat ion. ln-h en Intensit i was High, rat wings at Le .- 13 3

and U did rnot differ reliably fo i c i other AP. or AS. Th, se findings lend

suppo, t to the not ion that. AS is dependent on AJ. The firing ttha:

Violation effects rrc- negligiblc- at Low Intensity for AS but' nCot for

AR. sup1:..rt. the notion that the tro Node-s of ,Response are not id ent, ical.




Thirty-five undergraduate males from the University of Florida

served as subjects for this experiment. They were recruited on a volun-

ceer basis from introductory psychology classes and received research

credit for their participation.

In order to have equal representation of subjects in the various

experimental groups (described below) the data for seven subjects were

discarded for purposes of analysis. The selection of these subjects

was made on a random basis. The remaining twenty-eight subjects were

equally divided into four groups.

St i mulus Material s

The stimulus materials were described in detail in Chapter II

i'p. 21). Briefly, they consisted of 12 abstract structure items selected

to represent combinations of the three independent variables: Violation

(V), Levels of Causality (L) and Outcome Intensity (I). Four items repre-

sented each of three Levels of Causality (Levels 3, h and 5). For two

of the items at each Level a negative outcome was linked to a Violation

of-Omission and the remaining two items at each Level presented negative

outcomes resulting from Violations oC Commission, Orfcomes of Low

Intensity. -ere f featured at each Le-.el for ce each of the Omissior and

Coirrissicnr itec.ms while the remaining itrems f:ft urged outcomes of High

Intensit,. All it ems ierev arranged in random order and Jwer asseril,:b

in bool.lc It form. Tiro forms of the bookLlet wire prepared. In the AR

form ach item was folloucd by' a 'ih st.ion uhich pc rtaincd to the hy'po-

th tical character 's responsibility' for thc outcom dcsc.rib.ed in the it m.

In the A.S form the cqucst ion follo.:inr each iterr p],rt.ain-d to thc amount

of Fpunishm rnt that should b.- accc:dcd thc hypothetical cl'I:ractcr. Other-

wris- the ti-io forms ucr- idc:rtial Tre answer a lt Iernati'.'c "Y'es" and

"ilo" appeared be-lou each iten, and a ratirqn scalc ranging from one to

five -as printed aloI-rC side th.' "iY s" alterna r i-. c All 35 sub jets who

Fart icipated in the e.:-periment receiv.'ed both the PiR and ". forms but

thi order of p re sent 1.tion vas '.ariJd. For 17 su bjccts the order of

pre'setat :on as .LFP.-AS; for the reri- in'ng subjects the- order uas re'.'rsed.

(Appendi:-. E-3 presr nts the stinmu.lus rims used in E.::pcrime, t 2.)

Admini st.rat ion

The- subjects 1irle ass.-Lrri lEd iiL two r group sessions consisting of 15

and 20 subjects eac.h for administration of the stimulus materials.

These sessions Wcre scparatcd in time b' an inter'.'al of apprco::imately

30 days, but tli initial session -:as conducted during the latter part of

the 1969 Sprin Qjuarter whereas the second session was held during the

initial part. of the ?'6'- SuTer C'uart r. During each session two experi-

merntal groups of roui :,, equp.al size sure cr':-a d Vby m Ieans of the distri-

bution of respons.- booklets. Subjects uho welre gi-.,cr the AKP form of th'

booklet first r:spond.e: by indic-t.ii the agent's re .-ponsibility for

each depicted out-omr... Foll.o.:irng this, they resrspcnrledo o the same items

agail) by indicti&?g r: each item, the degree of .Jnirshmrent, deemed appro-

priat.c. The order of response was reversed for the remaining subjects.

AssigiLne-rnt of subjects to the two groups was made randomly and, in

every case, the first set of booklets was collected before the second

set was distributed.

Genvr-al instructions were given orally at the start of each session.

Specific instructions were provided in mineographed form for each response

form. The AR and AS instructions were similar except that for the former,

subjects were informed that their task was to decide the agent's re-

sponsibility for each depicted outcome. The definition of responsibility

was identical to that-used for Experiment 1. The AS instructions in-

formed subjects that their task was to decide whether and to what extent

thA- agent. should be punished for each depicted outcome. Both the AR and

AS instructions informed subjects that each item would feature a negative

outcome, and that the agent would be described as causing the negative

outcome by failing to engage in obligatory behavior in some items whereas

in others, he would be described as bringing about the outcome by engag-

ing in forbidden behavior. For L:zh instruction forms, obligatory be-

havior aas defined as an action that is required of a person by virtue

of his status as a moral being, and forbidden behavior was defined as

an action that is forbidden to a person by virtue of his status as a

moral being. (AR and AS instructions are contained in Appendices E-l

ahd E-2 respectively.)

The instructions were apparently adequate. All subjects completed

both forms within 35 minutes. At the end of the session, questions

w.reC arnstered and the subjects were then dismissed.


Table- 1 presents mean AR and mean AS ratings for each abstract

Table 1c'

Mecan Attributionri of PRsponsibility arnd Ass jirient c1o Sanction
Rating for Each Ltstract Sttiucturc Ite2mi E:xprimert 2

Mean Ratrings
Item AR AS Comblied

Omi ssinr, L-.: i .LouI 2.L3 .78 1.61
Coriris-ion, Le.ci 3, L2:.; 2.68 1.28 1.98

Cor- cissior, LE'.l High 3.1l 2.18 2.66

CO issic:,. L ..;l ] i, L,:,: 3. 2.00 2.93
Co._r-.i.ssio i, i.;._:s ,_.Lowr I.C' 2.3 6 3.18
Cri; ss:i n. L.'.' I i1, Hi i .5 3.61 .07
Corr',.ission, Lc cl i. : ih h .68 .18 I.l 3

Cr:i on, Le .'I 5., Lior 3.28 1.3 2.36
Corrnmissin. L;e'.l Lcur 3.5L 1.93 2.73
Crcis.ion, Le'.-cl 5, Hihgi L. cI 2.l3 3.21
ConL'is sion, Lev.- l 5, Hiqh .. 3.21 3.66

structure item. Table 16 presents a summary of the analysis of variance

performed on these ratings.5 For this analysis, Populations (P) and

Order (0) constituted control variables, and Norm Violation (V), Levels

(L), Outcome Intensity (I) and Mode of Response (M) constituted experi-

mental variables. The first two classifications were independent

groups, whereas the other classifications were based on repeated measures

on the same sbijccLs. Because this analysis yielded 79 sources of var-

iance, only those sources found to be significant at the five per cent

level of confidence or better are given in Table 16 in order to conserve

space. Reference to this table reveals that the following effects were

significant at or beyond the five per cent level: Violation (V), Levels

(L), Intensity (I), Mode (M), Violation x Mode, Levels x Intensity,

Inteinity' :: Node and the Violation x Levels x Mode x Population x Order

interaction. These effects will be considered in detail below.

Control Vari ales

Appro:.:imately half of the subjects were enrolled at the University

of Florida during the regular Spring Quarter at the time of their par-

ticipation in Experiment 2, while the remaining subjects were attending

the Sum LIer session at the University at the time of their participation.

Because it. uas suspected that the Summer session enrollees may not have

been representative of the regular University student population, Popu-

lation was included in the analysis as a control variable. The two

Orders of administration of the response booklets constituted a second

control '.ariaIle. I'either the main effects of Population nor Order

produced an F-arii.:, that was significant at the chosen level of confi-

'Coriputationr w !ere performed by the University of Florida Computing


Table 16

Surmiar2y' of there Analysis of Vaariarnc for E::perimrnnt 2
Attributior of F:esporsibility and Asig-uinent of Sarlnction F:atinrs:
Sources Significant at the Fi-..c FPr Cnti. Le'.'cl or E.tter

Source if Mcan Square F P

Violatiori\V) 1 27.L2 17.99 .001

Lev. :l (L) 2 11 i.11 52. 8 .CI01

Intensir: (I) ] 130.38 13CL.L .C00

Node ('1) 1 290.72 33.96 .001

V IxI 1 3.72 8.86 .01

L x 1 2 5.79 9.6c5 .01

I x M 1 20.72 10.06 .01

V ;.x L : N x Populatior < Ort-dcr 2 .90 L.09 .0O

dance (.05). Moreover the only significant interaction effect involving

either of these variables was the fourth-order interaction between

Violation, Levels, Mode, Population and Order. Because of the large

number of cells which form the Violation x Levels x Mode x Population

x Order effect, it was not feasible to attempt comparisons among in-

dividual cell means, and, in any event, an interaction of this nature

does not lend itself to interpretation.

Experimental Variables

Violation. Table 17 shows that overall ratings (AR and AS combined)

averaged 2.70 and 3.11 for Omission and Commission respectively. The

difference between these means was highly significant, as indicated in

Table 16 by the large F-ratio associated with the Violation main effect.

Thus when AR and AS were combined, ratings were significantly greater

for Commission than for Omission. Violation also interacted signifi-

cantly with Mode of Response, although none of the other interactions

involving Violation was significant other than the fourth-order inter-

action with Levels, Mode, Population and Order. Table 17 shows that AR

averaged 3.h3 and 3.69 for Omission and Commission respectively, while

the corresponding means for AS were 1.97 and 2.52. The difference

between Omission and Commission was significant for both AR (t=2.l48

p<.C2) and AS (t=5.2b; p<.O05), but Table 17 and Figure 6 show that the

difference was more than twice as great for AS as compared with AR.

These results support the predictions that both AR and AS are greater

for Corr'ission than for Omission, but that the difference is relatively

greater for AS than for AR.

Although it was predicted that Violation effects would be atten-

uatej' t- Level for both AR and AS, and exaggerated at Level 5 for AR,

Tabl. 17

M,''an O."cral 1

Attr iibutiocn of Re-spons ibil ity and AssigrLei-nti
of San.ction Rating s for Cn i ss io
and ComTni ssion, E..:-p rirllri nt 2

M[ea3r Rat, ings
I'l rm V i at i on A. AS Combni ned

Omi s ion 3.13 1.97 2.70

CornIssiorL 3.69 2.52 3.11

3.56 2.25




WW 5

.^ 4



- AS
- 0---0



S4 5


~Mean Attributi:o of cRecsr.:ibi1 i riv
Sanction (AS) R' inas r:, C' is-ion
Across L;a ls, E:.p ri:: ir L 2

(AR) and Assignment of
(0, nd C'orr i 3 S iior, (




Fiqui~ 6.

these. prediction s we re not bornr: out by the results. Ileither the

\Violation :. L:els, nor the Violation x L.evels :.: iiode interaction effect s

iwere s ign ificarnt. The latter results indicate that the effect of

Violation did not vary across Levels for cither 'AR or AS.

Leve' ls. The Levels main effect iwas highly s grtificart, as shown

in Table 16. Table 18 shows that mean overall ratings combinedd AFR and

AS) for Lve I s 3, and wcre 2.07, 3. 6 ard 2.99 re -pct i.ly. The

SNeTmairn-K:euls test iId ic:-ated that the d ffeircr.':e s amiongr the se means

w ere uniforrmly significant (rp-.01). Thus ratings were greater at

Level L than at either Le or and, in addition, tie L'.'el

ratings u:re grcerater thTan ratings at Levcl 3. Table 16 reveals L.at

Levels interacted significantly only 'ith Intensity and with 'Vi.-lation,

Mode., Population andvr OrJer. The latte, itrl'raction i- not amena-. bl' to

interpretation. Cell means resu.ltnq from the intfer-ction of Levels

and 7nt.ensitty are presented in Table 1. The Leuman-Keul s test wias

used to e'valuatr. diffe:ren-ces betrCweenr each pair of these m-ranr The

results indicated that, for both Lou and High Intensity: outcomes, AF.

and AS uIIere significantly greater at Level than at citlier Levels 3

(F<.01) ,cc (p<.01') f.urtherm ore Level ratings reliably exceed.-ed

Le'vel 3 ratings (p'<.01). TIhese results support the predic.tions that

both. AR and AS are maximal at Le'sel U.

Inrtensity. It wais predicted that' for both PR and AS, ratings would

be: significaTiL't,: greater for High than for Low Intenrsity, outcomes. In

addition, it i.wa expected th Intensity effects w-ould 'be relatively

more pronounced for AS than for AR. Table 18 c-houw that for corr inred

AR and AS ratings, Lh,- overall means for Lour and Hig-jh ntt,:ns it',' outcomes

were 2 h and ,.3,L :.csce t tive ly. The J i "ffcren ce bc.t::e:rn these m .n-,Isr

Table 18

Mean Combined Attribution of Responsibility and Assignment
of Sanction Ratings for Low and High Intensity
Outcomes, Experiment 2

Levels Low High Combined

3 1.79 2.35 2.07

S3.05 4.25 3.65

5 2.5 3.44 2.99

Total 2.16 3.34 2.90

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