The Moderating Effect of Criminal Thinking on Certainty of Apprehension in Decisions to Engage in Antisocial Behavior: Replication and Extension

Glenn D. Walters, Robert D. Morgan, Faith Scanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored whether the rational (certainty of punishment) and nonrational (criminal thinking) aspects of antisocial decision-making interact. A convenience sample of 319 undergraduates (106 men, 213 women) completed a measure of criminal thinking and responded to three fictional vignettes (i.e., cheating on a final examination in a class they were in jeopardy of failing, stealing $50 off a table in a dorm room, and selling marijuana for a friend) at three different levels of risk or certainty of apprehension (50%, 10%, and 1%). Results indicated that participants reported that they would be more likely to engage in antisocial behavior when the certainty of getting caught was low and the level of proactive (P) or reactive (R) criminal thinking was high. An interaction between certainty and criminal thinking was also observed in which the gap between lower and higher criminal thinking respondents grew as the probability of getting caught fell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-813
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • antisocial behavior
  • certainty of apprehension
  • criminal decision-making
  • criminal thinking
  • forensic science
  • rational choice

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