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Alcohol intoxicated witnesses' interpretation of social behavior in intimate partner violence

Journal article
Authors Malin Hildebrand Karlén
Ann-Sophie Lindqvist Bagge
Claudia Fahlke
Kerstin Armelius
Published in Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 33
Issue 4
Pages 468-479
ISSN 08884080
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Department of Psychology
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages 468-479
Language en
Keywords aggression, alcohol intoxication, antisocial behavior, eyewitness, social behavior, violence
Subject categories Applied Psychology


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Alcohol intoxication affects social information processing, though research is scarce regarding how alcohol affected eyewitnesses' perception of social interaction within an applied forensic context. In the present study, the effects of alcohol intoxication on eyewitnesses' perception of interaction in intimate partner violence (IPV) were investigated. The participants (n = 152) were randomized to an experimental (alcohol) or control group (juice). After consumption, they viewed a filmed IPV scenario where both interacting parties were confrontational. Afterwards, they rated the involved parties' behavior. Several behaviors were perceived in a similar manner by intoxicated and sober participants, but intoxicated participants perceived both parties' attacking behaviors and some of the man's prosocial behaviors differently than sober participants. Hence, alcohol affected some, but not all, kinds of social behaviors investigated in the present study. This would be of interest to legal praxis and to future studies on intoxicated witnesses to interpersonal violence.

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