People who feel disempowered tend to feel more willing to shoot someone when mass shootings loom large in their mind, according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The findings provide some initial evidence that mass shootings can produce contagion-like effects.
“This particular study, on mass shootings, pertains to the spreading of violent ideas.
We tested whether specific individuals – namely, those who are searching for their own means of personal empowerment, were the most likely to express more violent ideas in response to mass shootings.”.
In one study, the researchers experimentally manipulated a sense of disempowerment by giving some participants a cognitive test that was impossible to solve correctly.
The link between disempowerment and assertive gun use was particularly strong among participants who felt mass shootings were an imminent threat.
The findings suggest that mass shootings can inadvertently promote the idea of using guns to empower oneself. »