It is Written in Your Eyes: Hostile Attributions and Self-Directed Gaze Perception in Incarcerated Violent Adolescent Male Offenders [2018]

To date, we have frugal knowledge about the hostile attribution bias (HAB) and the biased gaze perception in violent adolescent offenders. This however is a major contributing factor in understanding delinquent behavior. Using a computer-based approach, presenting faces modulated in gaze direction (0°, 2°, 4°, 6°, 8°) and valence (angry, fearful, happy, neutral), the present study examined the impact of HAB of the feeling of being stared at in a sample of 27 adolescent offenders (aged 17-24 years). The study was conducted institution-intern in the Department for Social Therapy of a German correctional facility. Results showed that in comparison with faces with negative expressions, happy faces were more likely to be perceived as self-directed. Interestingly, emotion showed significant influence of the gaze perception in only two viewing angles (2° and 6°), revealing the role of the facial expression in highly ambiguous conditions. Furthermore, hostility did not modulate the relationship between the self-referential gaze perception and (negative) facial expression. Possible frameworks and limitations of the study are discussed.

Zhana M. Karadenizova, Klaus-Peter Dahle

International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol 62, Issue 12, 2018