Steins, Gisela; Weiner, Bernhard:

The influence of perceived responsibility and personality characteristics on the emotional and behavioral reactions to persons with AIDS

In: Journal of Social Psychology, Jg. 139 (1999) ; Nr. 4, S. 487-495
ISSN: 0022-4545
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Psychologie
Fakultät für Bildungswissenschaften » Institut für Psychologie » Allgemeine Psychologie und Sozialpsychologie
The present study examined the effect of a target's personality and respon-
sibility for a misdeed on a perceiver's emotions and behavior by determining the vari-
ables' impact on the perceiver's emotional reactions and willingness to help the target. A
total of 134 Germans and 171 Americans were given information about the level of
responsibility (low, medium, or high) for a person's infection with HIV, 2 variations of
information about the target's personality (positive vs. negative), and the transmission
mode of the virus (needle vs. unsafe sex). Although B. Weiner's ( 1995 ) model of respon-
sibility partially explained the findings, the results showed that the target's personality
also contributed to the perceiver's emotional and behavioral reactions.

WE INVESTIGATED the influence of personal characteristics and the transmis-
sion mode of the HIV virus on the emotional reactions (i.e., displays of anger or
pity) and behavioral reactions (i.e., willingness to help) of others. Numerous
empirical studies have shown that the perception of responsibility for an event
has implications for the perceiver's emotions and behavior toward the target.
Results showed that people were inclined to feel anger toward a person who is
responsible for a negative event and pity toward a person who is not responsible.