Archive for May, 2012

New study suggests gender gap around homophobic bullying

May 31, 2012

Development and Psychometric Properties of the Homophobic Bullying Scale

From Educational and Psychological Measurement (EPM) 

This study found that when it comes to homophobic bullying, there could be a gender gap. While male victims are more likely to be bullied by male homophobic bullies, female victims are bullied by both males and females equally. Additionally, those surveyed for the research reported hearing a low number of verbal homophobic remarks towards gay men compared to other forms of non-verbal homophobic bullying.

Using a survey of 863 public high school students, the author obtained data from bullies of students who were perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), witnesses of homophobic bullying incidents, and the actual victims themselves. Ten percent of the students surveyed were classified as homophobic bullies because they reported engaging in bullying behaviour based on sexual prejudice at least once a week. 3.5% of students were considered victims of homophobic bullying because they were harassed by homophobic aggressors at least once a week.


Neighborhoods-not immigrants-determining factor for homicides

May 30, 2012

Extending Immigration and Crime Studie National Implications and Local Settings

From The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 

Public opinion and public policy often assume that immigration is directly related to higher rates of crime, but the social conditions of neighborhoods actually have a more significant effect on violent crimes than immigrant populations. This study examines the issue using local and national data over several decades. The researchers selected two cities affected by immigration in different ways during different time periods, as well as recent national data that compare violent crime rates to immigration concentration levels. They concluded that immigration does not necessarily mean more homicide, location and neighborhood characteristics were the most significant influencers of homicide rates. “Neighborhoods with higher levels of disadvantage experience significantly more homicides, including those that are gang- and drug-related,” wrote the authors. “Residential stability, percentage professional, adult to child ratio, and young male emerges (but the latter two in opposite directions) for total and gang homicide.” They feel their findings could be used to help direct immigrant crime prevention resources to other more influential areas, such as help to encourage Latinos to seek employment in professional occupations.


Violent video games turning gamers into deadly shooters

May 29, 2012

Boom, headshot!”: Effect of video game play and controller type on firing aim and accuracy

From Communication Research

Playing violent shooting video games can improve firing accuracy and influence players to aim for the head when using a real gun this study finds. The researchers tested 151 college students by having them play different types of violent and non-violent video games, including games with human targets in which players are rewarded for hitting the targets’ heads. After playing the game for only 20 minutes, participants shot 16 bullets from a realistic gun at a life-size, human-shaped mannequin. Participants who played a violent shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller hit the mannequin 33% more than did other participants and hit the mannequins’ head 99% more often. The researcher’s findings remained significant even after controlling for firearm experience, attitudes about gun use, amount of exposure to violent shooting games, and overall level of aggressiveness of the player. The authors conclude “These results indicate the powerful potential of video games to teach or increase skills, including potentially lethal weapon use.”


Media coverage of governmental intervention during the global recession

May 24, 2012

Between usefulness and legitimacy: Media coverage of governmental intervention during the financial crisis and selected effects

From The International Journal of Press/Politics

This article examines how during the global recession, economic news has served as a dominant source of information for the public and as an influential factor in legitimating economic policy. As both major financial institutions and crucial industries worldwide were affected by the global financial crisis, most western and Asian governments intervened to stabilize their national economies. The effectiveness and legitimacy of this intervention is most relevant in times when economic growth is weak or negative. This study analyses how the media in Germany treated governmental attempts to stabilize the economy. It draws on results from content analysis of television news broadcasts and conducted an online experiment to investigate possible effects of the news coverage. It suggests that In cyclic economic developments, recessions come and go. A comprehensive look at the processes of media coverage during recessions will continuously help to understand public opinion development in these economically and politically sensitive periods.


Experts write on the risks of low-level radiation – A year after the Fukushima disaster

May 23, 2012

Special issue: Low-level radiation risks

From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 

Each time a release of radioactivity occurs, questions arise and debates unfold on the health risks at low doses—and still, just over a year after the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, unanswered questions and unsettled debates remain. This special issue examines what is new about the debate over low-dose radiation risk, specifically focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement, including quantitative estimates of cancer risk as radiation dose increases, or what is known as the linear non-threshold theory (LNT). The issue, which includes essays written by the top experts in their fields, does not claim to put the argument to rest—however, it does provide an indispensible update of the existing literature.

Language plays a critical role in every form of prejudice

May 22, 2012

Language and prejudice: Direct and moderated effects

From Journal of Language and Social Psychology   

In the ever-increasing globalization of the world, there has been a parallel increase in the amount of contact between members of different social groups, and thus, more opportunities than ever before for discrimination based on prejudice. Though it is clear that prejudice and language are related, these constructs have traditionally been treated as separate and distinct in psychology. This study examines empirical evidence and confirms that language is inextricably linked with every form of prejudice; be it explicit expressions, implicit transmission of beliefs, or the subtle distortion of perception. It transmits prejudice, reveals prejudiced beliefs, distorts perception, and can be the basis of prejudice or a tool for change. This paper reinforces the idea that the study of language adds value beyond that of a purely social psychological approach to prejudice.


Equal pay legislation and its impact on the gender pay gap

May 17, 2012

From International Journal of Discrimination and the Law

Historically, women have often been paid less than men for doing the same or equivalent work. A recent report reveals that an average woman working full time from the age of 18 to 59 years is estimated to lose out on £361,000 over the course of her working life compared with an equivalent male. This article considers the implementation in the UK of the Equality Act 2010 and its impact. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the topic and establishes to what extent the current law can facilitate the necessary changes to eradicate this gap. The paper recognizes that despite this legislation, problems can still be identified with equal pay in the UK. Many view the situation worsened by the coalition government’s backtracking somewhat on the commitments in the Equality Act to deal with the pay gap, most notably the removal of the legal requirement for employers to undertake equality audits.

The following quote highlights the present position: ‘Even though legislation on implementing equal pay has been in place for 40 years, the gender pay gap in Britain remains among the highest in the European Union. We still have a shocking gender pay gap of 15.5% that hurts women, society and the economy.’ The gender pay gap cannot and will not be closed until more is done to deal with the underlying issues.


Keep your fruit close and your vegetables closer: Proximity and visibility of healthy foods affects their intake

May 16, 2012

Proximity and visibility of fruits and vegetables influence intake in a kitchen setting among college students

From Environment and Behavior

This study found that when fruits and vegetables are within arm’s reach, students are more likely to eat them. Furthermore, making fruit and vegetables more visible increases the intake of fruit, but the same does not hold true for vegetables. The researchers tested a total of 96 college students by placing apple slices and carrot cuts in either clear or opaque bowls at a table close to the participants or at a table two meters away. Interestingly, making the food more visible to participants by placing them in clear bowls increased the intake of the apples but not the carrots. The researchers explained that this might be due to the fact that fruit is sweeter and may induce more motivation to eat than bitter-tasting vegetables. The authors also offered suggestions for the structure of dining and café settings on college campuses. Placing healthy foods in locations that are easy to see and easy to reach may encourage diners to indulge in more of these foods.


Women’s scientific achievements often overlooked and undervalued

May 15, 2012

The Matilda Effect in science: Awards and prizes in the US, 1990s and 2000s

From Social Studies of Science

This study reveals that when men chair committees that select scientific awards recipients, males win the awards more than 95% of the time despite the fact that women made up 21% of the nomination pools. It also reports that while in the past two decades women have begun to win more awards for their scientific achievements, compared to men, they win more service and teaching awards and fewer prestigious scholarly awards than would be expected based on their representation in the nomination pool. The researchers suggested some possible solutions to this problem such as increasing the proportion of female nominees for all types of scientific prizes, ensuring that women are well represented on prize committees, constantly reviewing award criteria to check for implicit bias, and establishing an oversight committee to maintain standards of equality.


Exploring recent developments in restorative policing in England and Wales

May 10, 2012

From Criminology and Criminal Justice

This article explores the recent restorative policy initiatives that are being introduced by the police to respond to both low-level and more serious offending in England and Wales. This move towards a local, community-oriented and engaged service is exemplified by the police embrace of restorative justice. The policing initiatives are driven by a desire to increase commu­nity confidence in the police, coupled with an acknowledgement of the limited capacity of formal state agencies to manage problems of crime and deviance. The paper outlines the various policy options. It explores developments and highlights where potential problems for implementation may arise as well as some strategies to overcome them. It concludes with an evaluation of the objectives of restorative policing and their potential impact on police provision.


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