Event Title

Knowledge, Personality, and Race Predict Perceptions of Gun Control and School Shootings

Poster Number

079

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

In the United States, 288 school shootings have resulted in injuries in the past nine years. Thus, we examined attitudes about school shootings, blame, and gun reform. We assessed whether gun law attitudes can be predicted by (1) gun law knowledge, (2) the personality traits of aggression, empathy, and entitlement, and (3) race. Participants (n = 122) were adults, primarily women, with a mean age of 26.68 (SD = 11.93). Fifty-one percent were Caucasian, 35% were African American, and the remainder reported other ethnicities. Participants responded to scales to assess aggression, empathy, entitlement, gun law knowledge, and attitudes toward school shootings. Results revealed that knowledge, personality, and race predicted gun law attitudes, with knowledge and race emerging as more influential variables than personality, but the patterns were not linear. Caucasians had higher empathy scores (related to gun restriction) but supported more lenient gun laws, while African Americans had higher entitlement scores (related to self-protection) but supported stricter gun laws. In a similar contradiction, individuals high in knowledge and entitlement showed some support for flexible gun laws; however, they also advocated for strict gun restrictions for anyone diagnosed with a mental illness. Aggression and knowledge both predicted support for guns, but perhaps for different reasons, as only knowledge related to owning more guns. Gun owners were informed about current laws, which may reflect a responsible and experiential component of gun support. Conversely, aggressive individuals did not own more guns, but knew about gun laws and supported the NRA.

Previously Presented/Performed?

SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2018; Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2019

Grant Support?

Supported by a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education

Awards Won

Winner, Psi Chi Regional Research Award, SEPA Annual Meeting, March 2019

Comments

Jasmine Goode is a McNair Scholar.

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

Knowledge, Personality, and Race Predict Perceptions of Gun Control and School Shootings

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

In the United States, 288 school shootings have resulted in injuries in the past nine years. Thus, we examined attitudes about school shootings, blame, and gun reform. We assessed whether gun law attitudes can be predicted by (1) gun law knowledge, (2) the personality traits of aggression, empathy, and entitlement, and (3) race. Participants (n = 122) were adults, primarily women, with a mean age of 26.68 (SD = 11.93). Fifty-one percent were Caucasian, 35% were African American, and the remainder reported other ethnicities. Participants responded to scales to assess aggression, empathy, entitlement, gun law knowledge, and attitudes toward school shootings. Results revealed that knowledge, personality, and race predicted gun law attitudes, with knowledge and race emerging as more influential variables than personality, but the patterns were not linear. Caucasians had higher empathy scores (related to gun restriction) but supported more lenient gun laws, while African Americans had higher entitlement scores (related to self-protection) but supported stricter gun laws. In a similar contradiction, individuals high in knowledge and entitlement showed some support for flexible gun laws; however, they also advocated for strict gun restrictions for anyone diagnosed with a mental illness. Aggression and knowledge both predicted support for guns, but perhaps for different reasons, as only knowledge related to owning more guns. Gun owners were informed about current laws, which may reflect a responsible and experiential component of gun support. Conversely, aggressive individuals did not own more guns, but knew about gun laws and supported the NRA.