Objective: Test how virtual, vicarious exposure to a procedurally just versus unjust police traffic stop impacts youths’ perceptions of police legitimacy and willingness to cooperate. Methods: Adolescents (N = 822) were randomly assigned to watch a video featuring a procedurally just interaction, a procedurally unjust interaction, or no video. Analyses examined the effects of video exposure on youths’ views of police. Results: Virtual exposure did not impact youths’ views of police legitimacy. However, youth were more willing to cooperate with the just versus the unjust officer. Interestingly, exposure to the just officer reduced youths’ willingness to cooperate with the police in their community as compared to the control group. Conclusions: A single virtual police exposure may not critically shape youths’ overall perceptions of police legitimacy, but it may impact their willingness to cooperate. Youth may differentiate their evaluations of specific officers from their views of police more broadly.
- Procedural justice
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