- 感情心理学研究 (ISSN:18828817)
- vol.27, no.3, pp.95-103, 2020-05-30 (Released:2020-06-05)
This study aimed to explore how emotional reactions toward criminals and victims affect punitiveness, with special attention to fear, anger, and empathy. Past research on punitiveness has long emphasized the role of emotion in determining individual levels of punitiveness. However, these studies have at least two limitations: 1) varying definitions of punitiveness among studies, and 2) limited scope of research—mainly limited to Western countries. We addressed these limitations by using a validified scale measuring punitiveness in the Japanese context. Questionnaires were distributed to 330 individuals. The results showed that fear of crime, anger toward criminals, and empathy toward criminals and victims were all correlated with two sub-constructs of punitiveness (support for harsher punishment and criminalization). However, once other variables were controlled, only anger toward criminals and fear of crime showed a significant relation with punitiveness, suggesting that these two emotion-related variables play an important role in determining punitiveness. The implications of the study are discussed.