ArticlePDF Available

Guns, Testosterone, and Aggression: An Experimental Test of a Mediational Hypothesis

Authors:

Abstract

We tested whether interacting with a gun increased testosterone levels and later aggressive behavior. Thirty male college students provided a saliva sample (for testosterone assay), interacted with either a gun or a children's toy for 15 min, and then provided another saliva sample. Next, subjects added as much hot sauce as they wanted to a cup of water they believed another subject would have to drink. Males who interacted with the gun showed significantly greater increases in testosterone and added more hot sauce to the water than did those who interacted with the children's toy. Moreover, increases in testosterone partially mediated the effects of interacting with the gun on this aggressive behavior.
Research Report
Guns, Testosterone, and
Aggression
An Experimental Test of a Mediational Hypothesis
Jennifer Klinesmith, Tim Kasser, and Francis T. McAndrew
Knox College
ABSTRACT—We tested whether interacting with a gun in-
creased testosterone levels and later aggressive behavior.
Thirty male college students provided a saliva sample (for
testosterone assay), interacted with either a gun or a
children’s toy for 15 min, and then provided another saliva
sample. Next, subjects added as much hot sauce as they
wanted to a cup of water they believed another subject
would have to drink. Males who interacted with the gun
showed significantly greater increases in testosterone and
added more hot sauce to the water than did those who
interacted with the children’s toy. Moreover, increases in
testosterone partially mediated the effects of interacting
with the gun on this aggressive behavior.
Substantial evidence suggests that aggression can be increased
by the presence of weapons in the environment and by the
hormone testosterone. Several studies show that the presence of
aggressive environmental cues such as weapons can increase
the accessibility of hostile, aggressive thoughts and lead to more
aggressive behavior (Anderson, Benjamin, & Bartholow, 1998;
Bartholow, Anderson, Carnagey, & Benjamin, 2005; Berkowitz
& LePage, 1967; Bettencourt & Kernahan, 1997; Killias &
Haas, 2002). Regarding testosterone, in animal species ranging
from chickens to monkeys, the injection of this hormone in-
creases aggressiveness and social dominance behavior, re-
gardless of whether the animals are males or females (Ellis,
1986); in humans, however, the results are more mixed, with
many laboratory and field studies revealing strong positive re-
lations between testosterone and levels of restlessness, tense-
ness, and tendency toward violence (Archer, 1994; Campbell,
Muncer, & Odber, 1997; Dabbs, Carr, Frady, & Riad, 1995;
Dabbs, Jurkovic, & Frady, 1991) and other studies failing to
replicate such effects (Archer, 1991; Archer, Birring, & Wu,
1998; O’Connor, Archer, Hair, & Wu, 2001; Rowe, Maughan,
Worthman, Costello, & Angold, 2004).
Surprisingly, we were unable to find any studies that examined
whether testosterone and the presence of a weapon might work
together to increase aggressive behavior. Perhaps the presence
of a stimulus such as a gun triggers increases in testosterone
levels, which in turn increase aggressive behavior. Such a chain
of events would be predicted by the challenge hypothesis de-
veloped by Wingfield, Hegner, Dufty, and Ball (1990) to explain
aggressive behavior in male pair-bonded birds. According to
this hypothesis, testosterone rises in response to situational cues
that represent either a threat to a male’s status or a signal that
competition with other males is imminent; such increases in
testosterone then facilitate whatever competitive behaviors
(including potentially aggressive responses) are necessary for
meeting the challenge. The challenge hypothesis has been
supported by studies across a wide range of vertebrate species
(Cavigelli & Pereira, 2000; Ferree, Wikelski, & Anderson,
2004; Hirschenhauser, Taborsky, Oliveira, Canario, & Oliveira,
2004; Muller & Wrangham, 2004); most studies in humans have
focused on how males’ testosterone levels rise and fall de-
pending on success or failure in competitions (Archer, 1991;
Booth, Shelley, Mazur, Tharp, & Kittok, 1989; Gladue, Boechler,
& McCaul, 1989; Mazur, Booth, & Dabbs, 1992; Mazur & Lamb,
1980) or in response to insults (Cohen, Nisbett, Bowdle, &
Schwarz, 1996; see Archer, 2006, for a review of the applica-
bility of the challenge hypothesis to humans).
In this study, we examined whether the presence of a gun (vs. a
control object) might act as a stimulus signaling competition and
a threat to status; if so, according to the challenge hypothesis,
it should cause increases in males’ testosterone levels, which in
turn should increase their aggressive behavior. We assessed
males’ testosterone levels both before and after interacting with
a gun or a children’s toy; to measure aggression, we adapted a
method developed by Lieberman, Solomon, Greenberg, and
Address correspondence to Tim Kasser, Box K-83, Knox College,
Galesburg, IL 61401, e-mail: tkasser@knox.edu.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
568 Volume 17—Number 7Copyright r2006 Association for Psychological Science
McGregor (1999) that gives subjects the opportunity to anony-
mously put hot sauce in a cup of water that they believe another
person will have to drink. We hypothesized that males who in-
teracted with the gun would show both a greater increase in
testosterone levels and more aggression than would males who
interacted with the children’s toy. We also hypothesized that
changes in testosterone levels would be correlated with ag-
gression levels and would indeed mediate the effects of inter-
acting with a gun on later aggressive behavior.
METHOD
Subjects
Subjects were 30 male college students (age range: 18–22) who
received extra course credit or a small monetary reward for their
participation. All subjects were run during the afternoon or early
evening.
Procedure and Materials
When recruited, subjects were informed that the study would
examine taste sensitivity in males and that they would therefore
need to provide saliva for hormone analysis; subjects were asked
not to eat, drink, smoke, or brush their teeth for 1 hr prior to
testing in order to minimize impurities in the saliva samples.
When subjects arrived at the lab, a female experimenter con-
firmed that the subjects had indeed followed these instructions
before she administered consent procedures. Next, participants
provided an approximately 6-ml sample of saliva by spitting into
a cup; this saliva was used to assess baseline, or Time 1,
testosterone levels.
All subjects were then led into a room containing a television,
a chair, and a table with an object and some paper on it. For
experimental subjects, the object was a pellet gun identical in
size, shape, and feel to a Desert Eagle automatic handgun; for
control subjects, the object was the children’s game Mouse
Trapt. Subjects were told that the study was investigating
whether taste sensitivity was associated with the attention to
detail required for creating instructions concerning the object.
Subjects were therefore asked to spend 15 min handling the
object and writing a set of instructions about how to assemble
and disassemble it; a drawing of the object was also provided for
subjects to label the object’s parts. The handgun and children’s
game were similar in number and complexity of parts.
After 15 min, the experimenter reentered the room, asked the
subject to stop working on the instructions, and obtained a Time
2 saliva sample from the subject. The subject was told he would
next perform the taste-sensitivity portion of the study. He was
given a cup filled with 85 g of water and a single drop of Frank’s
Red Hot Sauce. The subject was told that the sample had been
prepared by a previous subject, was instructed to take a sip of the
sample, and was then asked to rate the taste of the sample on a
scale provided.
The experimenter left and then returned with a tray containing
a cup of 85 g of water, a nearly full bottle of Frank’s Red Hot
Sauce, and a lid. The subject was asked to prepare a sample for
the next subject by placing as much hot sauce in the water as he
wanted. He was assured that neither the person who drank it nor
the experimenter would know how much hot sauce he had put in
the water, as the lid was to be put on the cup after the hot sauce
was added. The experimenter then left the room, and the sub-
ject signaled when he was finished adding the hot sauce.
(Throughout this process, the gun or the game remained in the
room.) The cup was then removed from the room, and the ex-
perimenter weighed it again to obtain a measure of the amount of
hot sauce, in grams, the subject had added to the water. This
served as our primary measure of aggression (see Lieberman et
al., 1999).
Because of the potentially arousing nature of the experiment,
we wanted to ensure that all subjects were reasonably calm when
they left the lab. Therefore, all subjects next watched a relaxing
video of nature scenes and classical music. Given that subjects
had been deceived, we next debriefed them, emphasizing that
they should not feel badly about any aggressive behavior they
exhibited. Interestingly, several subjects were disappointed
when told that the sample of hot sauce and water they had
prepared would not actually be given to the next subject. No
subjects expressed suspicion as to the true nature of the study.
Testosterone Levels
Time 1 and Time 2 saliva samples were stored for 24 hr at room
temperature, centrifuged, and then frozen at 20 1C until the
time of the assay (Erikkson & Von Der Pahlen, 2002). The
samples were then brought to room temperature, transferred to
Eppendorf tubes, centrifuged for 15 min at 3,000 rpm to remove
debris, and then assayed in duplicate using a commercially
available microwell kit for testosterone level (Salimetrics, LLC,
State College, PA). All samples were assayed in house in a single
batch using a standard radioimmunoassay (RIA) procedure
under the supervision of an experienced RIA technician; at both
Time 1 and Time 2, the duplicates were averaged to yield our
measures of testosterone level. The intra-assay coefficient of
variation for subjects was 5.3%, and the sensitivity of the assay
was less than 1.5 pg/ml from zero for men. Mean Time 1 and
Time 2 testosterone levels were 222.59 pg/ml (SD 597.17) and
253.92 pg/ml (SD 598.32), respectively. We subtracted each
subject’s Time 1 level from his Time 2 level to obtain a measure
of change in testosterone.
RESULTS
Our first hypothesis was confirmed: Subjects who interacted with
the handgun showed a greater increase in testosterone from
Time 1 to Time 2 (mean change 562.05 pg/ml, SD 548.86)
than did those who interacted with the children’s game (mean
Volume 17—Number 7 569
Jennifer Klinesmith, Tim Kasser, and Francis T. McAndrew
change 50.68 pg/ml, SD 528.57), t(28) 54.20, p
rep
5.99,
d51.53. Thus, interacting with the gun increased testosterone
levels.
Our second hypothesis was also confirmed: Subjects who in-
teracted with the gun added more hot sauce to the water (M5
13.61 g, SD 58.35) than did those who interacted with the
children’s toy (M54.23 g, SD 52.62), t(28) 54.16, p
rep
5
.99, d51.52. Thus, interacting with the gun increased ag-
gressive behavior.
Our third hypothesis was also confirmed: The amount of hot
sauce placed in the cup was positively correlated with changes
in testosterone level (r5.64, p
rep
5.99; R
2
5.41). Given that
all three of Baron and Kenny’s (1986) prerequisites for a me-
diational model were met, we next examined whether the size of
the association between the predictor variable (i.e., gun vs.
game) and the outcome variable (i.e., grams of hot sauce added)
diminished once the effects of the purported mediating variable
(i.e., changes in testosterone) were controlled. Indeed, the size of
the correlation between group membership (experimental vs.
control) and aggression dropped from r5.62 (p
rep
5.99) to
pr 5.36 (p
rep
5.91) after controlling for changes in testos-
terone. Finally, to more stringently test our mediational hy-
pothesis, we computed Sobel’s (1982) test for mediation, using
the Web site developed by Preacher and Leonardelli (2001). As
before, the evidence suggested that the effect of guns on ag-
gression was significantly mediated by changes in testosterone
levels, Sobel’s test 52.09, p
rep
5.93.
DISCUSSION
Past research shows that both testosterone and exposure to guns
are associated with aggressive behavior, but no studies, to our
knowledge, have examined how the two factors might work to-
gether. The present results demonstrated that males who inter-
acted with a gun showed a greater increase in testosterone levels
and more aggressive behavior than did males who interacted
with a children’s toy. Mediational analyses suggested that part of
the reason that guns increase aggression is that they cause in-
creases in testosterone levels.
Such findings not only are consistent with the challenge hy-
pothesis (Wingfield et al., 1990), but also provide new support
for it both by examining a new type of ‘‘challenging’’ stimulus
and by assessing later aggressive behavior. Additionally, the
results provide evidence against some interpretations suggest-
ing that experimental effects of guns on aggression are due to
subtle demand characteristics. That is, it seems unlikely that
subtle experimenter pressures could significantly increase
subjects’ testosterone levels; instead, it seems more reasonable
to believe that the presence of the gun had this effect.
Future research could explore a variety of avenues for cor-
recting some of the limitations of the present study. For example,
would females’ biological and behavioral responses to guns be
similar to males’? Perhaps they would, as other female animals
act more aggressively when injected with testosterone (Ellis,
1986). But perhaps they would not, as the types of evolutionary
challenges faced by ancestral females were different from those
faced by males, and thus females may react to guns differently
than males. Another topic worthy of further study concerns the
fact that subjects in this study only had the opportunity to ag-
gress in an anonymous, rather indirect fashion against an un-
known individual. Would the same pattern of results hold if the
aggression was directed against a particular individual, or if
there was a possibility of retribution from the victim? Finally,
would past experience with guns moderate these effects? That is,
would individuals who frequently handle guns (such as hunters
or soldiers) respond similarly to those with little or no experience
with weapons? Previous research (Bartholow et al., 2005) sug-
gests that this may be the case, but a link with testosterone has
yet to be established.
In sum, the present study replicates past research showing
that exposure to guns may increase later interpersonal aggres-
sion, but further demonstrates that, at least for males, it does so
in part by increasing testosterone levels. Such findings raise
many of the usual questions about whether the presence of guns
in modern society contributes to violent behavior. Although our
study is clearly far from definitive, its results suggest that guns
may indeed increase aggressiveness partially via changes in the
hormone testosterone.
Acknowledgments—We thank Heather Hoffmann, Janet Kirk-
ley, Glen Normile, and Neil Schmitzer-Torbert for their assistance.
This research was funded by a grant from the Richter Memorial
Scholarship Program.
REFERENCES
Anderson, C.A., Benjamin, A.J., Jr., & Bartholow, B.D. (1998). Does the
gun pull the trigger? Automatic priming effects of weapon pictures
and weapon names. Psychological Science,9, 308–314.
Archer, J. (1991). The influence of testosterone on human aggression.
British Journal of Psychology,82, 1–28.
Archer, J. (1994). Violence between men. In J. Archer (Ed.), Male vi-
olence (pp. 121–140). London: Routledge.
Archer, J. (2006). Testosterone and human aggression: An evaluation of
the challenge hypothesis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Re-
views,30, 319–345.
Archer, J., Birring, S.S., & Wu, F.C.W. (1998). The association between
testosterone and aggression among young men: Empirical findings
and a meta-analysis. Aggressive Behavior,24, 411–420.
Baron, R.M., & Kenny, D.A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable
distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strate-
gic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology,51, 1173–1182.
Bartholow, B.D., Anderson, C.A., Carnagey, N.L., & Benjamin, A.J., Jr.
(2005). Interactive effects of life experience and situational cues
on aggression: The weapons priming effect in hunters and non-
hunters. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,41, 48–60.
Berkowitz, L., & LePage, A. (1967). Weapons as aggression-eliciting
stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,7, 202–207.
570 Volume 17—Number 7
Guns, Testosterone, and Aggression
Bettencourt, B.A., & Kernahan, C. (1997). A meta-analysis of aggres-
sion in the presence of violent cues: Effects of gender differences
and aversive provocation. Aggressive Behavior,23, 447–456.
Booth, A., Shelley, G., Mazur, A., Tharp, G., & Kittok, R. (1989).
Testosterone and winning and losing in human competition. Hor-
mones and Behavior,23, 556–571.
Campbell, A., Muncer, S., & Odber, J. (1997). Aggression and testos-
terone: Testing a bio-social model. Aggressive Behavior,23, 229–
238.
Cavigelli, S.A., & Pereira, M.E. (2000). Mating season aggression and
fecal testosterone levels in male ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta.
Hormones and Behavior,37, 246–255.
Cohen, D., Nisbett, R.E., Bowdle, B.F., & Schwarz, N. (1996). Insult,
aggression, and the Southern culture of honor: An ‘‘experimental
ethnography.’’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,70,
945–960.
Dabbs, J.M., Jr., Carr, T.S., Frady, R.L., & Riad, J.K. (1995). Testos-
terone, crime, and misbehavior among 692 male prison inmates.
Personality and Individual Differences,18, 627–633.
Dabbs, J.M., Jr., Jurkovic, G., & Frady, R.L. (1991). Salivary testos-
terone and cortisol among late adolescent male offenders. Journal
of Abnormal Child Psychology,19, 469–478.
Ellis, L. (1986). Evidence of neuroandrogenic etiology of sex roles from
a combined analysis of human, nonhuman primate, and nonpri-
mate mammalian studies. Personality and Individual Differences,
7, 519–552.
Erikkson, C.J., & Von Der Pahlen, B. (2002). Testosterone, dihydro-
testosterone and cortisol in men with and without alcohol-related
aggression. Journal of Studies on Alcohol,63, 518–526.
Ferree, E.D., Wikelski, M.C., & Anderson, D.J. (2004). Hormonal
correlates of siblicide in Nazca boobies: Support for the challenge
hypothesis. Hormones and Behavior,46, 655–662.
Gladue, B.A., Boechler, M., & McCaul, K.D. (1989). Hormonal re-
sponse to competition in human males. Aggressive Behavior,15,
409–422.
Hirschenhauser, K., Taborsky, M., Oliveira, T., Canario, A.V.M., &
Oliveira, R.F. (2004). A test of the ‘‘challenge hypothesis’’ in
cichlid fish: Simulated partner and territory intruder experiments.
Animal Behaviour,68, 741–750.
Killias, M., & Haas, H. (2002). The role of weapons in violent acts:
Some results of a Swiss national cohort study. Journal of Inter-
personal Violence,17, 14–32.
Lieberman, J.D., Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., & McGregor, H.A. (1999).
A hot new way to measure aggression: Hot sauce allocation. Ag-
gressive Behavior,25, 331–348.
Mazur, A., Booth, A., & Dabbs, J.M., Jr. (1992). Testosterone and chess
competition. Social Psychology Quarterly,55, 70–77.
Mazur, A., & Lamb, T.A. (1980). Testosterone, status, and mood in
human males. Hormones and Behavior,14, 236–246.
Muller, M.N., & Wrangham, R.W. (2004). Dominance, aggression, and
testosterone in wild chimpanzees: A test of the ‘challenge hy-
pothesis.’ Animal Behaviour,67, 113–123.
O’Connor, D.B., Archer, J., Hair, W.H., & Wu, F.C.W. (2001). Ex-
ogenous testosterone, aggression, and mood in eugonadal and
hypogonadal men. Physiology and Behavior,75, 557–566.
Preacher, K.J., & Leonardelli, G.J. (2001, March). Calculation for the
Sobel test:An interactive calculation tool for mediation tests.
Retrieved September 2005 from http://www.unc.edu/preacher/
sobel/sobel.htm
Rowe, R., Maughan, B., Worthman, C.M., Costello, E.J., & Angold, A.
(2004). Testosterone, antisocial behavior, and social dominance in
boys: Pubertal development and biosocial interaction. Biological
Psychiatry,55, 546–552.
Sobel, M.E. (1982). Asymptotic intervals for indirect effects in struc-
tural equations models. In S. Leinhart (Ed.), Sociological meth-
odology 1982 (pp. 290–312). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wingfield, J.C., Hegner, R.E., Dufty, A.M., Jr., & Ball, G.F. (1990). The
‘‘challenge hypothesis’’: Theoretical implications for patterns of
testosterone secretion, mating systems, and breeding strategies.
American Naturalist,136, 829–846.
(RECEIVED 8/11/05; ACCEPTED 10/17/05;
FINAL MATERIALS RECEIVED 10/31/05)
Volume 17—Number 7 571
Jennifer Klinesmith, Tim Kasser, and Francis T. McAndrew
... Başka bir araştırmada silahla ilgili olan/olmayan, saldırganlıkla ilgili olan/olmayan sözcüklerin ve resimlerin kullanıldığı iki deney sonucunda, basitçe silahları tanımlamanın saldırgan düşüncelerin erişilebilirliğini artırdığı gösterilmiştir (Anderson, Benjamin ve Bartholow, 1998). Bazı araştırmalarda da Berkowitz ve LePage'in çalışmalarından farklı olarak saldırgan davranışı ölçmek için elektroşok yerine laboratuvar ortamında kulaklıklardan iletilen rahatsız edici gürültü (Lindsay ve Anderson, 2000) veya baharatlı yiyeceklerden nefret eden deneklere verilen aşırı derecede acılı ve baharatlı sos (Klinesmith, Kasser ve McAndrew, 2006) kullanılmıştır. Laboratuvar ortamı dışında alanda yapılan deneyler de mevcuttur. ...
Article
Full-text available
Due to the prevalence of violent behaviors in societies, such behaviors are increasing day by day in the traffic. Verbal or physical violence experienced in traffic, often due to reasons such as not giving way among drivers, reaches serious dimensions by threatening traffic safety. This issue is called “road rage” in the literature. Some studies on road rage have shown that drivers with guns in their vehicles may be risky in terms of their tendency to display aggressive behavior. It has been suggested that the concept called "weapons effect" in social psychology may be effective on aggressive behaviors. In this study, it is aimed to make an evaluation based on the research findings in the literature on the relationship between this effect and road rage by emphasizing the weapons effect, which is one of the factors thought to affect the aggressive behaviors exhibited in the traffic environment. Within the framework of the theoretical foundations and the research results carried out in this direction, it is thought that the presence of weapons may be an important risk factor on road rage behaviors. This article comprehensively discusses the topic within the scope of traffic safety through the perspective of social psychology and traffic psychology. Keywords: Road Rage, Aggressive Driving, Weapons Effect, Review
... This study identified a large proportion of subjects felt their priming method improved performance significantly (c = 0.72; p = 0.011) via increased motivation (38.1%), followed by reduced fear and anxiety (22.2%), competition/session intensity (20.6%), and perceived increase in strength and power (15.1%), which are also in line with previous research(39). Interestingly, these traits have all been shown to be associated with anabolic hormonal changes(20,41,49). Cook et al.,(5) examined associations between salivary free testosterone and training motivation in elite male rugby union players, they found that changes in pre-workout free endogenous testosterone concentrations correlated strongly (r = 0.81) to voluntary workloads.Cook and ...
Article
This study aimed to examine the frequency and modes of psychological priming techniques and strategies being implemented by athletes of a variety of performance levels. A 15-question, anonymous questionnaire was developed and shared via social media sites. The survey implemented a quantitative method approach to collect background information (e.g., demographics, competition, and training history), the prevalence of priming, and the methods used. Ninety subjects met the inclusion criteria (71 men, 18 women, 1 subject did not identify their sex), with a median age of 28 ± 7.47 (24-33) years and training age of 11 ± 7.57 (8-18) years. Self-selected participation level accounted for 11 professional, 17 semi-professional, and 54 amateur level athletes. Priming strategies were implemented by 79% of subjects without the use of a coach, 10% used strategies with their coach, and 11% did not prime. For athletes, music was the preferred choice (27%), followed by instructional self-talk (24%), motivational self-talk (23%), applied physical actions (20%), and watching videos clips (6.3%). Coaches preferred motivational statements with 55% implementing this technique, followed by 27% utilizing inspiring team talks, and only 18% playing music. Of those that implemented a priming strategy, 66% found them to be either “very” or “extremely effective”. With 38% of subjects feeling priming accomplished this through increased motivation, 22% felt it reduced their fear and anxiety, 21% thought it improved their intensity, 15% felt it increased strength and power, and 2% felt it improved endurance. The chi-square test also found a significant (jc = 0.27; p = 0.011) relationship with the use of priming to increase motivation. These results demonstrate priming strategies are being used irrespective of coach intervention, therefore educating coaches and athletes on the implementation of priming techniques has its place when aiming to improve athlete performance.
... As can be seen in Fig. 3.2, weapons also significantly increase aggressive behavior. In laboratory experiments involving adults, physical aggression is generally measured using unpleasant stimuli such as electrical shocks (e.g., [2]), noise blasts (e.g., [24]), or allocation of hot sauce (e.g., [25]) to an accomplice. Verbal measures of aggression have included negative evaluations of experimenters and accomplices (e.g., [26]). ...
Chapter
Of course, using a weapon can make aggressive acts more lethal. But can simply seeing a weapon increase aggression? The available research evidence indicates that the answer is “yes.” The weapons effect is a behavioral phenomenon in which the mere presence of a weapon can increase aggression. This chapter reviews the history of the weapons effect and its psychological mediators, especially effects on aggressive thoughts and hostile appraisals. The weapons effect occurs for provoked and unprovoked individuals, for males and females, for all ages, for college students and nonstudents, and even for toy weapons. The implications of the weapons effect for real-world outcomes, such as the recent increase in firearm injury, are discussed with particular focus on laws that allow the open carry of firearms by citizens. More research is needed to identify real-world conditions in which the effect may be unwittingly increasing the use of aggression rather than reducing it.
... Although we suggest that SD might predict gun ownership, this model will require longitudinal data to assess changes in SD and changes in gun ownership. One reason for this is that handling guns has been reported to increase testosterone levels in experimental settings (Klinesmith et al., 2006). Given that androgen deficiency contributes to ED (Yassin & Saad, 2008), gun ownership may be a cause and a consequence of ED. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although there has been no direct empirical evidence linking sexual dysfunction (SD) with gun ownership, speculation has been widespread and persistent for decades. In this paper, we formally examine the association between SD and gun ownership. Our primary hypothesis, derived from the psychosexual theory of gun ownership, asserts that men experiencing SD are more likely to personally own guns than other men. To test this hypothesis, we used recently collected data from the 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (CHAPS), a national probability sample of 780 men, and binary logistic regression to model gun ownership as a function of SD. Our key finding is that men experiencing SD are no more likely to own guns than men without SD. This interpretation was supported across several indicators of SD (performance anxiety, erection trouble, and ED medication) and gun ownership (personal gun ownership, purchasing a gun during the pandemic, and keeping a gun in one's bedroom). To our knowledge, we are the first to have directly tested the association between SD and gun ownership in America. Our findings are important because they contribute to our understanding of factors associated with gun ownership by challenging the belief that phallic symbolism and masculinity somehow drive men with SD to purchase guns. Our results also remind us of the perils of gun culture rhetoric, which, in this case, function to discredit gun owners and to further stigmatize men with ED. We conclude by calling for more evidence-based discussions of SD and guns in society.
... These results require replication and it is unclear whether the willingness to ingest hot sauce is a valid indication of aggression. These results are suggestive that empowerment may be a salient factor in male behavioral endocrinology, specifically in regard to testosterone (Klinesmith, Kasser, and McAndrew 2006). ...
... Hormonal changes have also been investigated in other emotional contexts, including social challenges, competitions, and mate-seeking (Zilioli & Bird, 2017;Geniole & Carré, 2018). Results from these studies indicate increases in testosterone in response to social challenges (e.g., insults; Cohen et al., 1996;Klinesmith et al., 2006), competition against others (especially when winning; Archer, 2006), and cues and interactions relevant to reproduction (e.g., exposure to pornographic movies; Zilioli & Bird, 2017). Within warm and friendly emotional contexts, experimental studies suggest an increase in oxytocin both when interacting with close social partners (Grewen et al., 2005) and with strangers (Kéri & Kiss, 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally acknowledged that hormones are implicated in socioemotional behavior, yet little is known about the role of hormones in the context of emotion regulation. The aims of the present review and meta-analysis were to review and synthesize the available evidence pertaining to the impact of emotion regulation instructions on hormones, and to investigate whether this impact varies according to: type of hormone, context (e.g., emotion-induction procedure), emotion regulation characteristics (e.g., emotion regulation strategy), and presence and type of psychiatric disorder. PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL were searched for experimental studies assessing the effect of instructed emotion regulation on levels of hormones (i.e., testosterone, cortisol, oxytocin, estradiol, and vasopressin) in physically healthy adults. The literature search yielded 17 relevant studies, 16 investigating cortisol and one investigating testosterone. Of these, 12 cortisol studies had eligible data for the meta-analyses. The results of the meta-analyses indicated no statistically significant effect of receiving an emotion regulation instruction compared with receiving no instruction on the cortisol response to subsequent emotion induction (g = -0.05, p = .48). However, within-person comparisons of change from an unregulated response to a regulated response indicated a significant change in cortisol levels (g = 0.18, p = .03) consistent with the specified regulation goal (i.e., either up- or downregulation). No statistically significant effects were found in subgroup meta-analyses conducted according to context, emotion regulation characteristics or psychiatric disorders. Taken together, the findings indicate that emotion-induction procedures are associated with increases in cortisol that may subsequently return to equilibrium regardless of emotion-regulation instructions. Based on the large gaps in research (e.g., few studies investigated other hormones than cortisol, few studies included self-report measures of emotions) identified in the present review, we conclude that the effect of emotion regulation on hormones remains poorly understood. PROSPERO registration CRD42020157336.
Chapter
Procesul de recenzie a unui articol ştiinţific implică evaluarea nivelului calitativ al redactării acestuia. Dezvoltarea abilităţii de redactare adecvată a unui articol ştiinţific, impusă de standardele calitative înalte ale revistelor cu factor mare de impact, este esenţială pentru un cercetător ştiinţific şi se formează în timp, prin exerciţiu. În acest capitol prezentăm structura de bază a unui astfel de raport științific redactat ca urmare a derulării unei cercetări de tip cantitativ, menţionând cerinţele redactării, precum şi erorile de evitat în cadrul fiecărei secţiuni. Problema plagiatului este extrem de importantă şi gravă. Există în rândul cercetătorilor începători un nivel ridicat de ambiguitate privind înţelegerea modalităţii adecvate de citare a rezultatelor anterioare în vederea evitării plagiatului. Sperăm că informaţiile prezentate în acest capitol vor fi utile masteranzilor, doctoranzilor, şi, în general, studenţilor interesaţi de cariera de cercetător.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Full-text available
A combination of field and laboratory investigations has revealed that the temporal patterns of testosterone (T) levels in blood can vary markedly among populations and individuals, and even within individuals from one year to the next. Although T is known to regulate reproductive behavior (both sexual and aggressive) and thus could be expected to correlate with mating systems, it is clear that the absolute levels of T in blood are not always indicative of reproductive state. Rather, the pattern and amplitude of change in T levels are far more useful in making predictions about the hormonal basis of mating systems and breeding strategies. In these contexts we present a model that compares the amplitude of change in T level with the degree of parental care shown by individual males. On the basis of data collected from male birds breeding in natural or captive conditions, polygynous males appear less responsive to social environmental cues than are monogamous males. This model indicates that there may be widely different hormonal responses to male-male and male-female interactions and presumably equally plastic neural mechanisms for the transduction of these signals into endocrine secretions. Furthermore, evidence from other vertebrate taxa suggests strongly that the model is applicable to other classes
Article
Full-text available
The role of guns and other weapons in violent acts has often been a subject of debate. The present study is based on a sample of 21,314 valid interviews with 20-year-old Swiss men, representing more than 70% of this cohort. The results show a much higher frequency of violence among owners of handguns and other weapons, but not of rifles. Gun owners also have been injured more often and they suffer more often from psychiatric symptoms. A considerable proportion of violent gun owners had previous police contacts and court appearances, suggesting that policies designed to confiscate guns would be feasible. In a multivariate model, which considered a great number of conventional criminological variables (such as delinquent friends) and indicators of psychopathology, ownership of handguns and other weapons (but not rifles) turned out to be a very important factor in explaining violence leading to bodily injury.
Article
Full-text available
More than 30 years ago, Berkowitz and LePage (1967) published the first study demonstrating that the mere presence of a weapon increases aggressive behavior. These results have been repli- cated in several contexts by several research teams. The standard explanation of this weapons effect on aggressive behavior involves priming; identification of a weapon is believed to automatically increase the accessibility of aggression-related thoughts. Two experi- ments using a word pronunciation task tested this hypothesis. Both experiments consisted of multiple trials in which a prime stimulus (weapon or nonweapon) was followed by a target word (aggressive or nonaggressive) that was to be read as quickly as possible. The prime stimuli were words in Experiment 1 and pictures in Experiment 2. Both experiments showed that the mere identification of a weapon primes aggression-related thoughts. A process model linking weapons as primes to aggressive behavior is discussed briefly.
Article
The hormone testosterone (T) has a central role in recent theories about allocation of status ranks during face-to-face competition. It has been methodologically convenient to test the hypothesized T mechanism in physically taxing athletic contests, where results have been supportive, although their generalizability to normal social competition is questionable. Competition among chess players is a step closer to normal social competition because it does not require physical struggle, and it is the arena for tests of the T mechanism which are reported here. We find that winners of chess tournaments show higher T levels than do losers. Also, in certain circumstances, competitors show rises in T before their games, as if in preparation for the contests. These results generally support recent theories about the role of T in the allocation of status ranks.
Article
TESTED THE HYPOTHESIS THAT STIMULI COMMONLY ASSOCIATED WITH AGGRESSION CAN ELICIT AGGRESSIIVE RESPONSES FROM PEOPLE READY TO ACT AGGRESSIVELY. 100 MALE UNIVERSITY SS RECEIVED EITHER 1 OR 7 SHOCKS, SUPPOSEDLY FROM A PEER, AND WERE THEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOCK THIS PERSON. IN SOME CASES A RIFLE AND REVOLVER WERE NEAR THE SHOCK KEY. THESE WEAPONS WERE SAID TO BELONG, OR NOT TO BELONG, TO THE AVAILABLE TARGET PERSON. IN OTHER INSTANCES THERE WAS NOTHING NEAR THE KEY, WHILE FOR CONTROLS 2 BADMINTON RACQUETS WERE NEAR THE KEY. THE GREATEST NUMBER OF SHOCKS WAS GIVEN BY THE STRONGLY AROUSED SS (WHO HAD RECEIVED 7 SHOCKS) WHEN THEY WERE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE WEAPONS. THE GUNS HAD EVIDENTLY ELICITED STRONG AGGRESSIVE RESPONSES FROM THE AROUSED MEN. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Meta-analytically examines experimental studies that include violent cues in the setting and assesses the effects of aversive provocation on gender differences in aggression. The results show that when violent cues are present, men are more aggressive than women under neutral unprovoked conditions. However, when they are exposed to both violent cues and aversive provocation, men and women are equally aggressive. Differences in individual reactivity to violent cues as well as the type of aggressive response and the sex of the target also affected the magnitude of gender differences in the presence of violent cues. Aggr. Behav. 23:447–456, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.