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She Said, He Said – But Who Is Responsible? A Real-World Conceptual Replication Linking Moral Foundations and Attitudes Toward Sexual Assault Victims and Perpetrators
Keywords: Moral foundations; sexual assault; sexual harassment; replication
Abstract: Niemi and Young (2016) found that increased endorsement of binding moral values predicted increased blame and responsibility attributed to victims. In two studies conceptually replicating these findings in a real-world context, we examine the role of moral values in perceptions towards Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh during and following their testimonies before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding allegations of sexual assault. Findings support the important role of moral foundations in understanding attitudes toward victims. Our studies contribute new findings which indicate that binding moral values also influence attributions of credibility and emotional reactions toward both victims and perpetrators (Balogh, Kite, Pickel, Canel, & Schroeder, 2003). We discuss the value of conceptual replications in sexual assault research and the implications of our findings in the context of the #MeToo Movement.