Psychological research on the efficacy of torture frequently excludes an important question: What causes people to believe that torture is effective? We investigated whether a factor increasing persons' desire for torture to be effective might lead them to perceive that it was more effective. Across 2 studies, participants evaluated hypothetical crisis scenarios that varied in the degree of personal closeness to the potential victim of the perpetrator in the crisis. They then indicated the degree to which they believed that torture would be effective in the scenario. Findings revealed that personal closeness to the victim led to the belief that using torture would be more effective. Results further suggested that perceived efficacy in part accounted for the effect of personal closeness on torture support in the scenario. These studies help inform our understanding of the psychology of people's perceptions about torture in appliedcircumstances.
- Personal closeness
- Torture efficacy
- Torture perceptions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations