Emotional reactions to crime across cultures

David Matsumoto, Hyisung C. Hwang
Published Online:
07 Oct 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 50 Issue 5

Additional Options

Information about the emotions experienced by observers when they witness crimes would have important theoretical and practical implications, but to date no study has broadly assessed such emotional reactions. This study addressed this gap in the literature. Observers in seven countries viewed seven videos portraying actual crimes and rated their emotional reactions to each using 14 emotion scales. Observers reported significantly high levels of negative emotions including anger, contempt, disgust, fear and sadness‐related emotions, and anger, contempt and disgust were the most salient emotions experienced by viewers across all countries. Witnesses also reported significantly high levels of positive emotions as well (compared to not feeling the emotion at all), which was unexpected. Country moderated the emotion ratings; post‐hoc analyses indicated that masculine‐oriented cultures reported less nervousness, surprise, excitement, fear and embarrassment than feminine cultures.

© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science