Willingness to help: how the portrayal and perception of a wrongfully convicted individual affects people’s willingness to help exonerees
Hamilton, Karli M.
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Currently, in Canada there is no legal requirement to compensate exonerees (Roach, 2012), and despite research suggesting Canadians would be supportive of this government assistance for exonerees (Angus Reid, 1995; Clow, Blandisi, et al., 2012), Canada rarely compensates or provides them with reintegration services (Schuller et al., 2021). Two studies were conducted to examine how emotions and empathic concern might impact personal willingness to help exonerees. In both studies, participants watched a video of an exoneree discussing an angry or sad aspect of his wrongful conviction and then asked about helping exonerees (assessed with both self-report and behavioural measures). Emotions were manipulated and/or measured a few different ways in each study. Participants’ sadness about the exoneree’s story and empathic concern increased self-reported helping, yet video condition had little impact. Behavioural helping was less consistent across studies. The findings are discussed in the context of education and increasing support for exonerees.