A study of adults' and adolescences' perceptions of perpetrators' moral responsibility to different criminal activities

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O'Toole, Stephen
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This study examined the perceptions that adults and adolescents have of the moral responsibility of the perpetrators of criminal activities. The participants consisted of 50 volunteers aged under 21, and another 50 aged 21 or older. 111ey attributed level of moral responsibility to perpetrators of different ages to six varying hypothetical criminal activities. The most important finding was that the null hypothesis was rejected. The responses of the participants indicate that severity of the crime influences the perceived level of moral responsibility. Higher levels of moral responsibility were attributed to the older perpetrator than to the younger perpetrator. The type of crime committed was not found to be of major consideration when attributing moral responsibility. These findings of the influence of severity of the crime, age of the perpetrator and type of crime committed mainly fall in line with the findings of other studies.