Violent Cognitions: Do Violent Offenders Express Evaluations, Norms, and Mitigations of Responsibility for Violence?

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Blank, Carolyn




Past research has suggested that the term attitudes has often been used as an umbrella term for a variety of cognitive constructs, including evaluations, norms, and mitigations. In order to better understand the nature of these cognitions, I identified statements from interviews with 44 violent offenders that seemed to reflect definitions for each cognition, and quantitized these statements according to their support or aversion to the use of violence. Inter-rater reliability analyses suggested that a second coder and I reliably identified each of these cognitions in ten randomly selected interviews, and that we reliably coded the valence of statements reflecting evaluations and norms. Correlations between these cognitive statements and two indices of violence were examined, and evaluations were associated with prior convictions for violence. These results suggest that theoretical conceptualizations of evaluations, norms, and mitigations correspond to how offenders talk about violence, and that evaluative statements were associated with violence.


Psychology - Cognitive
Psychology - Behavioral
Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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