Journal Articles

The Case for Violent Video Games: A Review of “Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong”

Despite the still emerging evidence regarding the effects of violent video games, for some psychologists, including the authors of Moral Combat, the question has been resolved: Violent video games are not only not harmful, but may actually prevent harm. Patrick M. Markey and Christopher J. Ferguson have a history of leading this charge, and this
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Debunking: A Meta-Analysis of the Psychological Efficacy of Messages Countering Misinformation

Abstract This meta-analysis investigated the factors underlying effective messages to counter attitudes and beliefs based on misinformation. Because misinformation can lead to poor decisions about consequential matters and is persistent and difficult to correct, debunking it is an important scientific and public-policy goal. This meta-analysis (k = 52, N = 6,878) revealed large effects for
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Beyond stereotypes of adolescent risk taking: Placing the adolescent brain in developmental context

Recent neuroscience models of adolescent brain development attribute the morbidity and mortality of this period to structural and functional imbalances between more fully developed limbic regions that subserve reward and emotion as opposed to those that enable cognitive control. We challenge this interpretation of adolescent development by distinguishing risk-taking that peaks during adolescence (sensation seeking and impulsive action) from risk taking that declines monotonically from childhood to adulthood (impulsive choice and other decisions under known risk).
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Does a Scientific Breakthrough Increase Confidence in Science? News of a Zika Vaccine and Trust in Science

How can public support for science be encouraged? In early August 2016, a Zika vaccine entered its first human trial. Extensive media coverage followed. Using repeated cross-sectional surveys, we observed that, following this media coverage, survey respondents reported greater attention to Zika news and an increased trust in science as providing solutions to problems.
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The role of language in expressing the life sciences in a polarized age

This Perspective is based on the keynote plenary lecture delivered at the Annual Conference of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences (APLS), held on October 23, 2015, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In these comments, I adopt a rhetorical perspective in order to consider the role of language in clarifying or confusing the public and public debates on a number of consequential polarized topics in the life sciences. My analysis is predicated on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s notion that “language itself does, as it were, think for us.” 1 Literary critic Kenneth Burke advanced the same concept in humorous fashion when he suggested that a toast I was slated to deliver in his honor state simply, “Language can do our thinking for us but language cannot do our drinking for us.”
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Processing the papal encyclical through perceptual filters: Pope Francis, identity-protective cognition, and climate change concern

Based on analysis of panel data collected before and after the encyclical’s release, this article finds that political ideology moderated views of papal credibility on climate change for those participants who were aware of the encyclical. Importantly, papal credibility mediated the conditional relationships between encyclical awareness and acceptance of the Pope’s messages on climate change. The authors conclude by discussing how the results provide insight into cognitive processing of new information about controversial issues.
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