Perceptions of submissiveness: implications for victimization

The Journal of Psychology
L RichardsJ Phillips


Some researchers have suggested that a precondition of affective submissiveness may increase the likelihood of female victimization in sexual assault, whereas others have suggested that criminal offenders use perceptions of vulnerability when selecting a victim. In this study, based on American college students, men (decoders) rated videotaped women (encoders) dominant versus submissive using a semantic differential instrument. Cue evaluators analyzed the body language and appearance of the videotaped women using a Likert instrument. The results suggest that (a) men form differentiated perceptions of dominant versus submissive women, (b) such perceptions substantially rely on nonverbal cues, (c) dominant and submissive women display visually different behaviors and appearances, and (d) men tend to select submissive females for exploitation.


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