Kevin Lewis

January 07, 2017

The effects of environmental resource and security on aggressive behavior

Henry Kin Shing Ng & Tak Sang Chow

Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Exposure to different environments has been reported to change aggressive behavior, but previous research did not consider the underlying elements that caused such an effect. Based on previous work on environmental perception, we examined the role of environmental resource and security in altering aggression level. In three experiments, participants were exposed to environments that varied in resource (High vs. Low) and security (High vs. Low) levels, after which aggression was measured. The environments were presented through visual priming (Experiments 1–2) and a first-person gameplay (Experiment 3). We observed a consistent resource-security interaction effect on aggression, operationalized as the level of noise blast (Experiment 1) and number of unpleasant pictures (Experiments 2–3) delivered to strangers by the participants. High resource levels associated with higher aggression in insecure conditions, but lower aggression in secure conditions. The findings suggest that the adaptive value of aggression varies under different environmental constraints. Implications are discussed in terms of the effects of adverse environments on aggression, and the nature's effects on social behavior.


Witnessing substance use increases same-day antisocial behavior among at-risk adolescents: Gene–environment interaction in a 30-day ecological momentary assessment study

Michael Russell, Lin Wang & Candice Odgers

Development and Psychopathology, November 2016, Pages 1441-1456

Many young adolescents are embedded in neighborhoods, schools, and homes where alcohol and drugs are frequently used. However, little is known about (a) how witnessing others' substance use affects adolescents in their daily lives and (b) which adolescents will be most affected. The current study used ecological momentary assessment with 151 young adolescents (ages 11–15) to examine the daily association between witnessing substance use and antisocial behavior across 38 consecutive days. Results from multilevel logistic regression models indicated that adolescents were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior on days when they witnessed others using substances, an association that held when substance use was witnessed inside the home as well as outside the home (e.g., at school or in their neighborhoods). A significant Gene × Environment interaction suggested that the same-day association between witnessing substance use and antisocial behavior was significantly stronger among adolescents with, versus without, the dopamine receptor D4 seven repeat (DRD4-7R) allele. The implications of the findings for theory and research related to adolescent antisocial behavior are discussed.


After the Bell and into the Night: The Link between Delinquency and Traditional, Cyber-, and Dual-Bullying Victimization

Timothy McCuddy & Finn-Aage Esbensen

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Method: Data come from a longitudinal sample of middle school students (N = 3,271) as part of the evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. A hybrid random effects model is used to estimate the between- and within-individual effects of traditional, cyber-, and dual-bullying victimization while controlling for other predictors of delinquency. Outcomes include general delinquency, violent and nonviolent delinquency, and substance use.

Results: The findings demonstrate that those who are cyberbullied exhibit a higher propensity for substance use and nonviolent delinquency compared to those who are traditionally bullied. Changes in dual victimization within respondents over time are most strongly related to general delinquency. With one exception, the effect of traditional bullying victimization remained weakest in all of the models.

Conclusions: This study finds evidence that victims of cyberbullying may be more likely to engage in delinquent and deviant behavior compared to victims of traditional bullying. Criminologists and antibullying prevention efforts should consider the broader role of cyberbullying victimization in the developmental processes of adolescents.


Automatic female dehumanization across the menstrual cycle

Valentina Piccoli et al.

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

In this study, we investigate whether hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle contribute to the dehumanization of other women and men. Female participants with different levels of likelihood of conception (LoC) completed a semantic priming paradigm in a lexical decision task. When the word ‘woman’ was the prime, animal words were more accessible in high versus low LoC whereas human words were more inhibited in the high versus low LoC. When the word ‘man’ was used as the prime, no difference was found in terms of accessibility between high and low LoC for either animal or human words. These results show that the female dehumanization is automatically elicited by menstrual cycle-related processes and likely associated with an enhanced activation of mate-attraction goals.


Antisocial peer affiliation and externalizing disorders: Evidence for Gene × Environment × Development interaction

Diana Samek et al.

Development and Psychopathology, February 2017, Pages 155-172

Gene × Environment interaction contributes to externalizing disorders in childhood and adolescence, but little is known about whether such effects are long lasting or present in adulthood. We examined gene–environment interplay in the concurrent and prospective associations between antisocial peer affiliation and externalizing disorders (antisocial behavior and substance use disorders) at ages 17, 20, 24, and 29. The sample included 1,382 same-sex twin pairs participating in the Minnesota Twin Family Study. We detected a Gene × Environment interaction at age 17, such that additive genetic influences on antisocial behavior and substance use disorders were greater in the context of greater antisocial peer affiliation. This Gene × Environment interaction was not present for antisocial behavior symptoms after age 17, but it was for substance use disorder symptoms through age 29 (though effect sizes were largest at age 17). The results suggest adolescence is a critical period for the development of externalizing disorders wherein exposure to greater environmental adversity is associated with a greater expression of genetic risk. This form of Gene × Environment interaction may persist through young adulthood for substance use disorders, but it appears to be limited to adolescence for antisocial behavior.

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