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dc.contributor.authorDain, Natanela 15:02:09 (GMT) 15:02:09 (GMT)
dc.description.abstractCriminal decision-making tends to occur in social contexts. There is evidence that the decision to commit a crime is often preceded by verbal communication, however, relatively little is known about the mechanisms through which conversations affect offending decisions. In this study, we applied rational choice theory, prospect theory, and need to belong theory to investigate the role of peer language use on offending decisions. We tested the hypothesis that peer messages framed as social gains and social losses would increase the likelihood and perceived worth of engaging in criminal activity. Moreover, based on prospect theory’s loss aversion principle, we hypothesized that this increase would be greater for peer messages framed as social losses. We recruited 313 North American young adults (ages 18-24) to participate in an online randomized experiment. We found that peer verbal prompts framed as social gains and social losses increased the likelihood of stealing. Although this increase was not larger for social loss framed messages, our results showed that social loss aversion, or the fear of losing belonging, significantly predicted all offending outcomes. Moreover, the effects of social loss framing on likelihood and perceived worth of stealing were significantly mediated by fear of losing acceptance. This study substantiates that peer language use plays a significant role in offending decisions and provides support for the social loss aversion principle. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.en
dc.publisherUniversity of Waterlooen
dc.subjectpeer devianceen
dc.subjectcriminal decision-makingen
dc.subjectbehavioral economicsen
dc.subjectprospect theoryen
dc.subjectneed to belong theoryen
dc.subjectpeer pressureen
dc.subjectpeer language useen
dc.titlePeer Language Use and Criminal Decision-Making: An Experimental Study Testing Framing Effects of Peer Messagesen
dc.typeMaster Thesisen
dc.pendingfalse and Legal Studiesen of Waterlooen
uws-etd.degreeMaster of Artsen
uws.contributor.advisorGallupe, Owen
uws.contributor.affiliation1Faculty of Artsen

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