Project Title

Self-Reported Willingness to Let Friends Falsely Take the Blame

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Jennifer Willard

Abstract (300 words maximum)

One reason people falsely take the blame is due to a desire to protect the perpetrator (Gudjonsson et al., 2007). These individuals typically have a relationship with the perpetrator (Mallory et al., 2015), and among friends, closeness influences people’s willingness to falsely take the blame (Willard & Burger, 2017). However, it remains unclear under what circumstances people are willing to let someone take the blame for their misconduct. We sought to examine whether relationship status (i.e., casual vs. close friend) influenced people’s willingness to let their friend take the blame for them. Furthermore, we examined whether the friend’s receptiveness to taking the blame would influence participants’ responses. Lastly, we explored the potential relationship between individual differences (e.g., belief in a just world) and participants’ willingness to let their friend falsely take the blame. Overall, participants’ willingness to let their friend take the blame for them was low. However, results indicated that certain situational and individual difference factors were related to willingness. Future research is needed to examine whether the factors that predict willingness in this study also predict behavior. However, these results may begin to inform law enforcement under what conditions perpetrators may allow individuals to admit, plead guilty, or confess for an offense they themselves have committed.

Project Type

Poster

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Self-Reported Willingness to Let Friends Falsely Take the Blame

One reason people falsely take the blame is due to a desire to protect the perpetrator (Gudjonsson et al., 2007). These individuals typically have a relationship with the perpetrator (Mallory et al., 2015), and among friends, closeness influences people’s willingness to falsely take the blame (Willard & Burger, 2017). However, it remains unclear under what circumstances people are willing to let someone take the blame for their misconduct. We sought to examine whether relationship status (i.e., casual vs. close friend) influenced people’s willingness to let their friend take the blame for them. Furthermore, we examined whether the friend’s receptiveness to taking the blame would influence participants’ responses. Lastly, we explored the potential relationship between individual differences (e.g., belief in a just world) and participants’ willingness to let their friend falsely take the blame. Overall, participants’ willingness to let their friend take the blame for them was low. However, results indicated that certain situational and individual difference factors were related to willingness. Future research is needed to examine whether the factors that predict willingness in this study also predict behavior. However, these results may begin to inform law enforcement under what conditions perpetrators may allow individuals to admit, plead guilty, or confess for an offense they themselves have committed.