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<p>Current literature suggests that laypeople’s punishment is primarily driven by retributive reasons (i.e., to give offender their just deserts) rather than utilitarian purposes such as special prevention (i.e., to prevent recidivism of the offender) or general prevention (i.e., to prevent the imitation of the crime by others). One explanation for this may be that individuals tend to focus on salient cues while ignoring others when making a decision, and critically, generally pay relatively little attention to secondary or long-term effects of their decision-making. This suggests that people’s punishment goals may be subject to the information salient about the crime situation. Specifically, individuals may only pursue utilitarian goals with their punishment, if aspects related to such long-term consequences of punishment are salient (such as information about the offender or the broad circumstances surrounding the crime). To examine this, we manipulated the salience of different aspects in a scenario describing a crime. In two preregistered experiments, participants were asked to choose from (Experiment 1, <em>N</em> = 291) or rate the appropriateness of (Experiment 2, <em>N</em> = 366) different reactions to the crime; these reactions were pretested for the degree to which they served each of the punishment goals: retribution, special prevention, and general prevention. As hypothesized, we found that participants’ punishment goals were associated with the salience of specific aspects of the scenario describing the crime situation. This extends on research suggesting that laypeople’s punishment goals are malleable and may depend on the research design employed by a particular study. </p> <p>This OSF project provides all instructions, material and results of supplementary analyses of our first experiment. Furthermore, we provide all information (materials & results) about three preliminary studies that were conducted to test the materials used in our research.</p>
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