Abstract

An analogy was borrowed from the law to develop a legal model of the attribution of responsibility for rape. According to the model, judgments of physical and psychological causality of an alleged rapist are combined into overall evaluations of attacker responsibility. An experimental test of the model was conducted with college students. Results showed that witness identification information influenced judgments of physical causality (i.e., extent to which the situation was perceived as rape), and information about the relationship between the alleged attacker and victim influenced judgments of psychological causality (i.e., intention to rape). Judgments of physical and psychological causality interacted significantly with overall attributions of attacker responsibility.