Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: What motivates direct and indirect punishment? Extending the 'intuitive retributivism' hypothesis
Authors: Molho, Catherine
Twardawski, Mathias
Fan, Lei
Issue Date: Oct-2020
Publisher: PsychArchives
Abstract: Punishment represents a key mechanism to promote cooperation and deter norm violations. Individuals engaging in informal punishment often evoke retribution motives – i.e., wanting to repay the harm done – and/or general deterrence motives – i.e., wanting to prevent onlookers from committing similar offenses in the future. Punishment motivated by retribution is tailored to the severity of offenses, with more severe offenses deserving stricter punishments. Punishment motivated by general deterrence is instead tailored to different factors, such as the observability of punishment, with more widely observed penalties being more effective at deterring similar offenses by onlookers. While the relative importance of these motives is debated, experiments that vary both retribution-relevant and deterrence-relevant factors find that the former are more crucial in determining penalties. Here, we aim to replicate and extend prior work by (a) testing the role that the severity of offenses and the observability of punishment play in motivating (b) distinct ways of punishing offenders via high-cost, overt means (i.e., direct punishment) versus lower-cost, covert means (i.e., indirect punishment). We hypothesize that direct punishment is better suited to serve retribution motives, as it can be more readily adjusted in proportion to the severity of offenses. In contrast, we hypothesize that indirect punishment is better suited to serve general deterrence motives, as it can effectively broadcast condemnation and communicate norms of acceptable behavior to an audience. To test these hypotheses, we aim to recruit 345 participants for an online experiment. Participants will read one out of four vignettes describing an offense and, in a 2 × 2 design, we will manipulate the severity of the offense (high versus low) and the observability of punishment (high versus low). We will use self-reports to assess participants’ desires to punish offenders directly and indirectly, their endorsement of retribution and deterrence motives, their emotional responses, basic personality traits and demographic information.
Citation: Molho, C., Twardawski, M., & Fan, L. (2020). What motivates direct and indirect punishment? Extending the 'intuitive retributivism' hypothesis. PsychArchives.
Appears in Collections:Preregistration

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
01. Molho, Twardawski, & Fan_IPA.pdf
Public UseCC-BY-SA 4.0
354,44 kBAdobe PDFDownload