The role of displays of emotions and ethnicity in judgments of rape victims

Aldert Vrij, A. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present experiment investigated the impact of displays of emotions and ethnicity of a rape victim on impression formation of white male and female observers. It was expected that victims would be assessed more favourably when they behaved angrily, rather than sadly, and when they were white rather than black. Moreover, it was expected that female observers would assess victims more positively than male observers. In the present experiment 51 male and 49 female observers watched a videotape of a victim of rape (an actress) during a simulated police interview. The ethnicity of the victim (white vs. black) and the emotion displayed by the victim (sad vs angry) was systematically manipulated. Observers' interpretations of what had happened were investigated by means of a questionnaire. The findings supported hypotheses relating to display of emotions and gender of the participants but failed to support the hypothesis concerning ethnicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997


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