In occur in that situation. Minimalisation (or
In the cognitive distortion explanation of crime, it states that people assume other people have negative motivations, towards them or to the general public. This is known as hostile attribution bias, and is based on misinterpretations and misperceptions of certain situations. As an example, people looking down on a young person skateboarding in the street, thinking they are causing a nuisance and do not have any care for the public, where in reality, they are just having fun and using skateboarding as a form to let out some steam and using their energy in a positive way, not negatively as others may see.
There is supporting evidence for hostile attribution bias through work done by Gudjonsson (1984) through the “blame attribution inventory”, which was created for a measure of the attributions offenders used to attribute for criminal behaviour. It measured the extent to which offenders blamed their circumstances in the environment, the extent to which they blame mental illness or a lack of self control or the extent to which they feel guilt or remorse. In conclusion, the research suggested that offenders differ in their attributions depending on which type of crime they had committed.
However, this research lacks generalisability as it is has limited application in only looking at aggressive crimes, and no other type, as well as most supportive evidence such as Crick & Dodge who found a relationship between hostile attribution bias and aggression in children, and Giancola (1995) who found that impulsive aggression is characterised by reactive outbursts and its the kind of aggression linked to hostile attribution bias. Gudjonssons research only used hypothetical situations for testing therefore it lacks predictive validity, meaning the answer given may not actually reflect the response that would usually occur in that situation.
Minimalisation (or minimisation) is a type of cognitive distortion that serves to downplay any criminal behaviour by the person committing the crime (offender). It can also be referred to as self-deception, where the offender does not fully accept the reality of what is happening and will try to rationalise what crime they have committed. As an example, you hurt someone in a fight but end up saying “it was their fault they got hurt as they were not strong enough” ; trying to rationalise what you have done.
Research form Kennedy & Grubin (1992) looked at the use of minimisation by convicted sex offenders, and it was found that the majority of the offenders attempted to excuse their behaviour by blaming someone else (trying to rationalise what they’ve done), usually the victim. A third of all offenders actually denied any involvement at all and a quarter in fact believed that their victim benefited from the abuse. Minimalisation could be said to be a coping mechanism for criminals when committing a crime.
This research is supported by other tests showing that there is intact a relationship between the amount of minimisation Is used in the feel of offending behaviour in the crime population. The idea that miniialiation is a coping strategy can be a n explanation for why someone committed the crime, however, by downplaying the severity of crimes, this could potentially lead to reoffending.