Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rifle emoji removal is a good first step

I am just getting back from AP reading, so am still trying to catch up on a number of items. This recent news article certain caught my attention - the next generation of emojis for your mobile phone will not include a rifle. As an aggression researcher with some expertise in the priming effect of weapons (see a recently published summary of weapons priming research I coauthored with Brad Bushman, for example), this is a welcome development. There is ample evidence that the mere exposure to a weapon (such as a rifle) will prime aggressive thoughts, hostile appraisals, and aggressive behavioral responses (both physical and non-physical). Right now I and Bushman have a meta-analysis under review that offers a comprehensive summary of the available published and unpublished research. Without going into the specifics of the meta-analysis (simply due to not wanting to publish original research on a blog), what I can say is that if one were to look up the numerous reports available, there is a clear causal link between weapon exposure and aggression (including cognitive and appraisal responses). In fact, aggression researchers have been well aware of this link for decades, and we have tried as best we can to make our findings as known to the public as possible. Although I seriously doubt a rifle emoji would be the trigger for a mass shooting, I would expect that individuals exposed to such emojis would show an uptick in aggressive thoughts, appraisals, and what I think of as mundane aggressive behaviors. I'm in favor of preventing negative behaviors if at all possible. One thing to point out is that you can still find pistol, weapon-like knife, and toy gun emojis - and the available evidence would suggest that these too would be as prone to prime aggression as the rifle emoji in question. The author of the article is clearly incorrect in dismissing the aggressive priming influence of a toy gun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Writing Blog Posts From Your Articles

This looked like a good practical post, and one worth sharing. As more of us look for ways to share our findings with a wider audience, blogging can be one means for summarizing our published findings with anyone interested in learning more about our work.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

New Publication is Available

Some shameless self-promotion: an article on the weapons priming effect that Brad Bushman and I coauthored was recently accepted for publication in Current Opinion in Psychology and is now available for download until July 23, 2016.

APS 2016 in Chicago

Last weekend, I attended the annual APS convention in Chicago. I was there primarily to present some research that I have completed in collaboration with a student (Meagan Crosby) and a friend and colleague Brad Bushman (you can view our poster through this link). That was a success, and hopefully will spark some collaborations in the near future. My other objective was simply to view as many posters and attend as many talks and symposiums relevant to my research interests, as well as attend talks in which the so-called crisis in psychology is discussed. In the process, I think I can bring into the classroom something fairly cutting edge that will benefit my department's students. I saw some old friends and made some new contacts. All in all this was a successful trip.

Chicago has changed considerably since my grad school days. As a Mizzou student, I would have regularly attended MPA's annual conference, which is held each year in Chicago. I may make a point of getting to that one again, even though I am technically more in the southern regions of the US. Chicago is not terribly far from my corner of Arkansas, and the city of Chicago is a great place to visit.

Below is a photo of me next to our poster.