Remedies must honor the complex social dynamics of adolescence.
- Bullies are likely to be friends according to new research published in the American Journal of Sociology.
- The researchers write that complex social dynamics among adolescents allow the conditions for intragroup dominance.
- The team uses the concept of "frenemies" to describe the relationship between many bullies and victims.
School Bullying: Are We Taking the Wrong Approach?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dfd7e31a97e8a049081d3cf6b978714f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/E3U38uZBW6w?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Femlee, a sociology professor at Penn State, says her study offers important insights into why bullying occurs—and, potentially, leaves clues for how to combat it. Her team found peer aggression to be much higher among students that are proximal to one another, either through friendship or social circles. Bullying does not end friendships, she says; they persist over the long-term, with the bullied maintaining ties to their tormentors. </p><p>Looking at a data set of over 3,000 students—at least half were either bullier or victim—the researchers asked students to choose five classmates that had been mean to them, then analyzed these networks while racking levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. As one student remarked, "Sometimes your own friends bully you. I don't understand why, why my friends do this to me."</p><p>Femlee <a href="https://news.psu.edu/story/648500/2021/02/22/research/et-tu-brute-teens-may-be-more-likely-be-bullied-social-climbing" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">elaborates on the complex dynamics</a> of adolescence:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"These conflicts likely arise between young people who are eyeing the same spot on the team, club, or vying for the same best friend or romantic partner. Those who are closely linked in the school social network are apt to encounter situations in which they are rivals for identical positions and social ties."</p>
Photo: motortion / Adobe Stock<p>They note that strained friendships are more likely to produce dominance behavior and power differentials than close ties. Punching down is common, especially between students of the same gender, race, and grade. The race for recognition seems to necessitate close racial and gender ties. "Frenemies" usually result from one member of a group victimizing another in an attempt at clawing their way to the top of the network.</p><p>This competition can have lifelong effects, such as reducing the bullied's chances of developing intimate relationships. The authors note that most bullying prevention programs fail becuase, in part, "aggressive behavior accrues social rewards and does so to a degree that leads some to betray their closest friends."</p><p>Such programs tend to focus on a fraction of bullying dynamics, such as empathy deficits and emotional dysregulation. They fail to take into account the complex social dynamics of being a teenager. The authors believe coopting status contents and changing the behavior of high-status youths could have downline effects. Instead of dismantling hierarchies, they recommend recognizing status is intrinsic to group fitness instead of pretending the struggle to the top is an aberration. Only then can you create structural change. </p><p>Friends, they conclude, can be the problem but also offer the solution. Aiming for enduring friendships instead of backstabbing frenemies is a tall order but it could impact the tragedy of bullying—and the emotional carnage it leaves in its wake. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>. His most recent book is</em> "<em><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRVMP2M?pf_rd_r=MDJW43337675SZ0X00FH&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy</a>."</em></p>
A new study shows that beauty standards affect whether or not accusers are believed.
- Sexual harassment is behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.
- Results of a 2018 survey showed that 81% of women (and 43% of men) had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
- According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.
The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants.
Credit: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a new study</a> published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.</p><p>"Sexual harassment is pervasive and causes significant harm, yet far too many women cannot access fairness, justice, and legal protection, leaving them susceptible to further victimization and harm within the legal system," study co-author Cheryl Kaiser, Ph.D., of the University of Washington <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. </p><p>According to Kaiser, sexual harassment claims were deemed less credible (and the harassment was perceived as less psychologically harmful) when it targeted a victim who was less attractive and/or did not act according to the stereotype of a typical woman. </p><p>The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants. It was designed to investigate the effects a victim's fit to the concept of a typical woman had on participants' view of sexual harassment (and the consequences of that mental association). In five experiments, participants read scenarios in which women either did or did not experience sexual harassment. Participants assessed the extent to which these women fit the idealized image of women, either by drawing what they thought the woman might look like or selecting from a series of photos. Across all experiments, participants perceived the targets of sexual harassment as more stereotypical than those who did not experience harassment.</p><p>In the next four experiments, participants were shown ambiguous sexual harassment scenarios which were then paired with descriptions or photos of women who were either stereotypical or not. The participants then rated the likelihood that the incident constituted sexual harassment. According to authors of the study, participants were less likely to label these ambiguous scenarios as sexual harassment when the targets were non-stereotypical women (compared with stereotypical women), despite the fact that, in some cases, the incident was the exact same.</p><p><strong>The final two experiments in this study found that sexual harassment claims were often viewed as less credible when the victim adhered less to the typical female stereotype.<br><br></strong>Even when a stereotypical woman and non-stereotypical woman submitted the same claim, it was deemed as less credible if the woman was perceived as less feminine. Additionally, the participants found the harassment to be deemed as less psychologically harmful when experienced by a non-stereotypical female.</p><p>"Our findings demonstrate that non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed may be vulnerable to unjust and discriminatory treatment when they seek legal recourse," co-author Bryn Bandt-Law, a doctoral student at the University of Washington, explained in an interview. "If women's nonconformity to feminine stereotypes biases perceptions of their credibility and harm caused by harassment, as our results suggest, it could prevent non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed from receiving the civil rights protections afforded to them by law."</p><p><strong>**If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, contact the <a href="https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline" target="_blank">National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline</a> at 800-656-4673. You are not alone.**</strong></p>
A large-scale meta-analysis aims to disprove the notion that pornography consumption causes sexual aggression and violence.
- The potential link between pornography consumption and sexual aggression and/or violence has been studied for decades, with the earliest research dating back to the 1970s.
- A 2020 meta-analysis study published in the Journal of Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, aims to entirely disprove the notion that there is a link between pornography and sexual aggression or sexually aggressive crimes.
- The CDC suggests that while "exposure to sexually graphic media" may be a factor in sexual aggression, it's not the cause nor the only factor that should be considered.
Does pornography cause sexual violence?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTA4OTYyNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTUwOTYyOX0.FvmMYQoZpAkZqMMm3S5v_7zBg6d3fvlELf3lZFWoqOo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C783%2C0%2C16&height=700" id="e53c0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="042738cda4ba95a556f8ec9c00659daf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="porn dialogue windows open on computer" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Is there any truth to the notion that pornography causes sexual violence?
Credit: ninefotostudio on Adobe Stock<p>The anti-pornography group, <a href="https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-consuming-porn-can-lead-to-violence/" target="_blank">Fight the New Drug</a>, is dedicated to confirming this theory, with mass-spread articles that heavily suggest consuming porn can (and will) lead to sexual violence.</p><p>We have seen a similar question being posed across all spectrums of the entertainment world:</p><ul><li>"Do violent video games lead to violence in kids?" </li><li>"Do graphic violence scenes in movies promote and encourage violence?"</li></ul><p><strong>How does what we consume, whether it be pornography, video games, or movies, impact our actions in the real world? </strong></p><p>Many studies in the past have attempted to draw a line (or erase the link entirely) between violence and pornography with no success on either side. <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12131276_Exploring_the_Connection_Between_Pornography_and_Sexual_Violence" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This 2000 study</a> by Raquel Kennedy Bergen and Kathleen A. Bogle collected data from 100 survivors of sexual abuse. Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported that their abuser used pornography and 12 percent of female respondents explained that pornography was imitated during their abusive incident. </p><p>More recently, <a href="https://www.galwaydaily.com/news/nuig-study-suggests-porn-use-exacerbates-sexual-aggression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a separate 2019 study</a> of almost 600 male Croatian secondary school students (between the ages of 15-17) explored the link between sexually aggressive students and pornography. While teenagers who showed signs of sexually aggressive behavior were more likely to use pornography, the researchers were unable to find any apparent link showing pornography had caused the behavior. In fact, it was found that people who were sexually aggressive were those who were already predisposed to aggressive acts. </p><p>The consensus with many of these studies is that while porn can be particularly enticing to individuals who are prone to becoming or have in the past become sexually aggressive, there is no concrete evidence that porn has caused or worsened their sexual aggression.</p><p><strong>A new study hopes to disprove this notion once and for all.</strong></p><p>The most recent research on this topic is <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1524838020942754?journalCode=tvaa" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a 2020 meta-analysis study</a> published in the Journal of Trauma, Violence, and Abuse. The current meta-analysis examined experimental, correlational, and population studies of the pornography/sexual aggression link dating from the 1970s until 2020. Several notable things were discovered in this meta-analysis that ultimately weakens the connection between pornography consumption and sexual aggression.</p><p>This meta-analysis examined decades of work, some of which suggested there is a link between pornography and sexual violence in real life and some of which suggested there is not. In the cases where the studies were conducted over a longer period of time, the link was weakened. </p><p><strong>Violent pornography was correlated with sexual aggression, but the evidence was unable to distinguish between selection effect compared to socialization effect.</strong> </p><p>"Selection effect" is defined as the bias that's introduced when a methodology or analysis is biased towards a specific subset of a target population. </p><p>"Socialization effect" is defined as the process of learning throughout a larger process of learning. For example, as we begin to study more about the link between sexual violence and porn, we learn more about both of those things which can then impact how we view the results of these studies. </p><p><strong>Studies that employed higher levels of best practices tended to provide less evidence of a potential link.</strong> </p><p>"Best practices" can be defined as a systematic process used to identify, describe, combine, and disseminate effective and efficient clinical strategies. Some of the "best practices for conducting research" include things like observing regulations during your research, reviewing protocol with all team members regularly, ensuring that each team member has the most current information, creating and using proper tools to assist in research, etc. </p><p>The studies that employed higher levels of best practices for research tended to also be the studies that provided less evidence of any potential link between pornography and sexual aggression. </p>
Sexual violence is not caused by one specific factor, suggests the CDC<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTA4OTcxOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjA0ODY5Mn0.QmWO8Bz70cq5VoqmWzfLmiRhzlpWnmK49a69FwxUREA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C220%2C0%2C220&height=700" id="cf69f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4a798fa2653bf4d65f2e3e76401ae2ae" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="agenda calendar with "risk factors" written on the slip" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Credit: Iryna on Adobe Stock<p>Does pornography <em>cause </em>sexual violence? The evidence suggests not. The CDC has put together <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html" target="_blank">a list of "risk factors"</a> that can be linked to a greater likelihood of sexual violence perpetration.</p><p>While "exposure to sexually explicit media" is on this list, there are also many other factors that can contribute, such as: </p><ul><li>Alcohol and/or drug use</li><li>Lack of empathy </li><li>Delinquency </li><li>General aggressiveness and acceptance of violence </li><li>Hyper-masculinity </li><li>Suicidal behavior</li><li>Prior sexual victimization or perpetration </li><li>Hostility towards women</li><li>Early sexual initiation</li><li>Preference for impersonal sex and/or sexual risk-taking </li></ul><p>Additionally, there are several "community" (or environmental) factors that can also contribute, such as: </p><ul><li>Poverty </li><li>Lack of employment opportunities </li><li>Lack of institutional support </li><li>General tolerance of sexual violence within the community </li><li>Societal norms that support sexual violence </li><li>Weak laws and policies relating to sexual violence </li><li>High levels of crime </li></ul><p><em>"</em>During the past few years many states have declared that pornography is a public health crisis," <a href="https://www.stetson.edu/today/2020/07/stetson-researcher-says-porn-does-not-cause-violent-sex-crimes/" target="_blank">said Chris Ferguson</a>, a professor of psychology at Stetson University, to The University of Texas at San Antonio. </p><p>"Dr. Hartley and I were curious to see if evidence could support such claims—at least in regard to sexual aggression—or whether politicians were mistaking moral stances for science. Our evidence suggests that policymakers should examine other causes of sexual aggression and that beliefs about pornography may be driven more by methodological mistakes than sound science."<br></p>
To war is human – and Neanderthals were very like us.
This week, Big Think is partnering with Freethink to bring you amazing stories of the people and technologies that are shaping our future.
- There are over 250,000 unsolved murder cases in the United States. Thomas Hargrove, cofounder of Murder Accountability Project, wants that number to be as close to zero as possible, and he has just the tool to help.
- Hargrove developed an algorithm that, through cluster analysis, is capable of finding connections in murder data that human investigators tend to miss.
- The technology exists, but a considerable roadblock that the project faces is getting support and cooperation from law enforcement offices.