Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:35 AM
Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows.
Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology James Brockmole, who specializes in human cognition and how the visual world guides behavior, together with a colleague from Purdue University, conducted the study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.
In five experiments, subjects were shown multiple images of people on a computer screen and determined whether the person was holding a gun or a neutral object such as a soda can or cell phone. Subjects did this while holding either a toy gun or a neutral object such as a foam ball.
The researchers varied the situation in each experiment — such as having the people in the images sometimes wear ski masks, changing the race of the person in the image or changing the reaction subjects were to have when they perceived the person in the image to hold a gun. Regardless of the situation the observers found themselves in, the study showed that responding with a gun biased observers to report “gun present” more than did responding with a ball. Thus, by virtue of affording the subject the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot.
“Beliefs, expectations and emotions can all influence an observer’s ability to detect and to categorize objects as guns,” Brockmole says. “Now we know that a person’s ability to act in certain ways can bias their recognition of objects as well, and in dramatic ways. It seems that people have a hard time separating their thoughts about what they perceive and their thoughts about how they can or should act.”
The researchers showed that the ability to act is a key factor in the effects by showing that simply letting observers see a nearby gun did not influence their behavior; holding and using the gun was important.
“One reason we supposed that wielding a firearm might influence object categorization stems from previous research in this area, which argues that people perceive the spatial properties of their surrounding environment in terms of their ability to perform an intended action,” Brockmole says.
For example, other research has shown that people with broader shoulders tend to perceive doorways to be narrower, and softball players with higher batting averages perceive the ball to be bigger. The blending of perception and action representations could explain, in part, why people holding a gun would tend to assume others are, too.
“In addition to the theoretical implications for event perception and object identification, these findings have practical implications for law enforcement and public safety,” Brockmole says.
Contact: James Brockmole, 574-631-7257, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:49 AM
Statistics much like accounting books are made to be manipulated to meet ones needs.
I've become extremly skeptical of both pros and cons that supposed do research, why would they be unbiased, if they do not meet the basic guidelines of the grant for the study, then they don't get the $$$$$.
HORSEFEATHERS, there I yelled it.
Worst part is people will believe that pigs fly too.
Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:01 AM
Yeah, that's some real science right there.
Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:08 AM
Yeah that was the biggest POS study or whatever. All of it was setup and on top of that they had them wearing huge gloves, shirts and a face shield (safety first).
This is similar to the "study" done several years ago by a major TV network (I forget which one) about the validity of campus carry. They took a kid who had never owned, carried, or even fired a weapon, gave him a one hour training on how a gun worked, then strapped him with a simunitions Glock and set him in a classroom. At some random point, several LEO personnel (read: trained shooters) burst into the classroom and started shooting the students with simunitions. Not only could this kid not get his gun out because it was tangled up in his shirt, he got shot in the process. Then the "researchers" proclaimed that based on this event, campus carry would not work because this kid was unable to respond.
Yeah, that's some real science right there.
Posted 23 March 2012 - 10:39 PM
When I was a little kid, I liked playing with tools. If I had a screwdriver in my hand, I'd go looking for things to "fix." If I had a drill, I would try to find things I could put holes in without getting in trouble. There's a saying that goes "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." I think that is the point they were trying to make.
However, where this study falls apart is the jump from holding a gun to carrying a gun. Most people that CC don't walk around thinking "I'm gonna shoot that guy if he does anything suspicious." "That guy is weird, I wonder if he has a gun." "Damn, I wanna shoot somebody today." It's more like "This thing is rubbing me." "What am I eating for lunch?" "I like turtles."
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