Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Holding a gun makes you think others are too, new research shows

March 22, 2012

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 Journal of Experimental Psychology: 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 the 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," Dr. 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 their effects by showing that simply showing observers 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.

University of Notre Dame


Related Perception Current Events and Perception News Articles


Whooping cough booster vouchers don't boost immunization rates of caregivers
Cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have increased dramatically over the past five years, putting infants at risk of serious illness or death.

Study finds significant cognitive impairment in adult survivors of childhood brain tumors
Cancer survivors of childhood brain tumors show significant deficits in intelligence, educational achievement and employment, even decades after treatment, an unprecedented study at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has found. The researchers said their findings will help guide efforts to prevent and alleviate such problems.

Severe drought no longer caused just by nature
Scientists at the University of Birmingham are calling on drought researchers and managers around the world to consider both human activity and natural phenomena in their battle to preserve increasingly scarce global water supplies.

First impressions: When the mating market resembles a super market
Two things people always need in life: food and love. According to psychologists, understanding the forces that drive both our hunger and our desire could help us eat healthier and have more satisfying relationships.

Farsighted kids' reading skills fall behind before they start first grade
Kids with uncorrected farsightedness lose ground on reading skills before they ever start first grade, a new study has found.

Good boss? Bad boss? Study says workers leave both
When fast-rising employees quit their jobs for better pay or more responsibility at another organization, the knee-jerk reaction may be to blame their leaving on a bad boss.

Calculating whiskers send precise information to the brain
As our sensory organs register objects and structures in the outside world, they are continually engaged in two-way communication with the brain. In research recently published in Nature Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute scientists found that for rats, which use their whiskers to feel out their surroundings at night, clumps of nerve endings called mechanoreceptors located at the base of each whisker act as tiny calculators.

Uncorrected farsightedness linked to literacy deficits in preschoolers
A study funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has shown that uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia) in preschool children is associated with significantly worse performance on a test of early literacy.

Why you should never use the term 'the mentally ill'
Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found.

Ecotourism, natural resource conservation proposed as allies to protect natural landscapes
If environmentalists want to protect fragile ecosytems from landing in the hands of developers--in the U.S. and around the globe--they should team up with ecotourists, according to a University of Georgia study published in the Journal of Ecotourism.
More Perception Current Events and Perception News Articles

PERCEPTION: (A Sci-fi Mystery Dystopian Romance) (The Perception Trilogy Book 1)

PERCEPTION: (A Sci-fi Mystery Dystopian Romance) (The Perception Trilogy Book 1)
by ESB Publishing


***A Library Journal Selection***

ETERNAL LIFE IS TO DIE FOR

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP--a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.
Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they've created between those who have and those who don't. He doesn't like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe's carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She's in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

Phenomenology of Perception

Phenomenology of Perception
by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Author), Donald Landes (Translator), Taylor Carman (Translator)


First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s monumental Phénoménologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first for over fifty years, makes this classic work of philosophy available to a new generation of readers. Phenomenology of Perception stands in the great phenomenological tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Yet Merleau-Ponty’s contribution is decisive, as he brings this tradition and other philosophical predecessors, particularly Descartes and Kant, to confront a neglected dimension of our experience: the lived...

The Perception Trilogy (3 Book Series)

The Perception Trilogy (3 Book Series)


From Book 1: ***A Library Journal Selection***

ETERNAL LIFE IS TO DIE FOR

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP--a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they've created between those who have and those who don't. He doesn't like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe's carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She's in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.


PERCEPTION...

Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception

Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception
by John R. Searle (Author)


This book provides a comprehensive account of the intentionality of perceptual experience. With special emphasis on vision Searle explains how the raw phenomenology of perception sets the content and the conditions of satisfaction of experience. The central question concerns the relation between the subjective conscious perceptual field and the objective perceptual field. Everything in the objective field is either perceived or can be perceived. Nothing in the subjective field is perceived nor can be perceived precisely because the events in the subjective field consist of the perceivings , whether veridical or not, of the events in the objective field.

Searle begins by criticizing the classical theories of perception and identifies a single fallacy, what he calls the Bad...

The Power of Perception: 6 Steps to Behavior Change

The Power of Perception: 6 Steps to Behavior Change
by Hyrum W. Smith (Author)


Bestselling author and motivational speaker, Hyrum W. Smith delivers his newest self-help eBook The Power of Perception: 6 Rules of Behavior Change. Hyrum teaches powerful rules for personal transformation that, if followed, can bring positive life change that breaks habits. Through the rules called “The Reality Model,” Hyrum illustrates the how-to process of understanding why we do what we do. Learning to identify what we internally believe teaches us why we act and react the way we do, positively or negatively. These rules are simple to apply that you will create quick and positive behavior change. The Power of Perception is a tool to get your goals and habits aligned for successful life change. Applying the six self-help rules for behavior change, you will discover personal...

Leap of Perception: The Transforming Power of Your Attention

Leap of Perception: The Transforming Power of Your Attention
by Penney Peirce (Author)


Step into a Transformed World

Age is speeding to a point where life will soon make a “leap” into the Intuition Age. The resulting reality will function according to different rules and we’ll know ourselves as a new kind of human being. We’ll live in a world that’s functioning entirely in the present moment, close to the speed of light.

As the world increases in frequency, we’re embracing the idea that life improves when we develop our own human abilities to work with energy and sophisticated perception. In Leap of Perception, you’ll learn new ways of using your attention that will become normal in the Intuition Age—things like direct knowing, undivided attention, flow attention, unified field attention, collective-self attention, and working purposefully...

Perception

Perception
by Randolph Blake (Author), Robert Sekuler (Author)


Perception, 5e, by Randolph Blake and Robert Sekuler, helps students appreciate the complexity of perception, while giving them a fresh perspective on their own seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. This thoroughly revised Fifth Edition includes updated research on cognitive influences on perception, two additional chapters, and a new, contemporary look.

The Perception Deception

The Perception Deception
by David Icke (Author)


David Icke, the world s most controversial author, has spent the last quarter of a century unravelling the secrets of the Universe, reality and the forces that manipulate our world. What was once ridiculed and dismissed is now being confirmed again and again as Icke, a figure of fun for so long, is acknowledged as a man way ahead of his time.

Sensation & Perception, Third Edition

Sensation & Perception, Third Edition
by Jeremy M. Wolfe (Author), Keith R. Kluender (Author), Dennis M. Levi (Author)


Why does the sky look blue? Why does sugar taste sweet? Fully revised and updated, this introductory, full-colour text is written by experts in each of the five senses who convey the excitement of the field to students, providing comprehensive descriptions of the science behind vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

Sensation and Perception

Sensation and Perception
by Bennett L. Schwartz (Author), John H. (Howell) Krantz (Author)


Sensation and Perception, by Bennett L. Schwartz and John H. Krantz, is a cutting-edge, easy-to-understand account of the modern sensation and perception field presented from both a cognitive and neurocognitive perspective. The book’s rich examples and applications to everyday life emphasize such high-interest topics as music, clinical applications, neuropsychology, and animal perception systems. Clear, illustrative diagrams and figures along with an extensive collection of online activities allow readers to interact with the phenomena covered in the text, perform experiments, and gain a deeper understanding of key course concepts. 

© 2016 BrightSurf.com