Forskning

Sikström, S. et al.

What you say and what I hear—Investigating differences in the perception of the severity of psychological and physical violence in intimate partner relationships

Abstract


The correct communication of the severity of violence is essential in the context of legal trials, custody cases, support of victims, etc., for providing fair treatment. A narrator that communicates their experiences of interpersonal violence may rate the seriousness of the incident differently than a rater reading the narrator’s text, suggesting that there exist perceptual differences (PD) in severity ratings between the narrator and the rater. We propose that these perceptual differences may depend on whether the narrative is based on physical or psychological violence, and on gender differences. Physical violence may be evaluated as more serious by the receiver of the narrative than by the narrator (Calibration PD), whereas the seriousness of psychological violence may be difficult to convey, leading to a discrepancy in the seriousness ratings between the narrator and the rater (Accuracy PD). In addition, gender stereotypes may influence the seriousness rating (Gender PD), resulting in violence against women being perceived as more serious than the same violence against men. These perceptual differences were investigated in 3 phases using a new experimental procedure. In Phase 1, 113 narrators provided descriptions and seriousness ratings of self-experienced physical and psychological violence in relationships. In Phase 2, 340 independent raters rated the seriousness of 10 randomly selected narrations from Phase 1. In Phase 3, the genders in the narrations were changed to the opposite gender, and seriousness ratings were collected from 340 different raters. Our results confirmed the hypothesized perceptual differences. Violence to male victims was considerably more likely to be seen as severe when the raters were misled to believe the victim was a woman. We propose that these data provide practical guidelines for how to deal with misinformation in the communication of violence. The data also show that mean values and the confidence of such severity ratings need to be adjusted for several factors, such as whether it is self-experienced or communicated, the type of violence, and the gender of the victims and raters.

Sikström, S. et al.

Weighting power by preference eliminates gender differences

Abstract

Power can be applied in different domains (e.g., politics, work, romantic relationships, family etc.), however, we do not always reflect on which domains we have power in and how important power in these domains is. A dominant idea is that men have more power than women. This notion may be biased because the concept of power is associated with public life. We introduce the concept of preference-weighted power (PWP), a measure of power that includes different domains in life, weighted by the domains’ subjective importance. Two studies investigated power from this perspective. In Study 1, participants generated words related to power, which were quantified/categorized by latent semantic analysis to develop a semantic measure of the power construct. In Study 2, we computed a PWP index by weighting the participants’ self-rated power in different power domains with the importance of having power in that domain. Together the studies suggest that men have more perceived power in the public domain, however, this domain has a lower preference weighting than the private domain where women have more power than men. Finally, when preferences for power in different domains were considered, no gender differences were observed. These results emphasize gender difference in different domains and may change how we perceive men’s and women’s power in our society.