Habituation & moral apathy

Habituation is a form of non-associative learning in which an innate (non-reinforced) response to a stimulus decreases after repeated or prolonged presentations of that stimulus. Responses that habituate include those that involve the intact organism (e.g., full-body startle response) or those that involve only components of the organism (e.g., habituation of neurotransmitter release from in vitro Aplysia sensory neurons). The response-system learns to stop responding to a stimulus which is no longer biologically relevant. For example, organisms may habituate to repeated sudden loud noises when they learn these have no consequences. Habituation usually refers to a reduction in innate behaviours, rather than behaviours acquired during conditioning (in which case the process is termed “extinction”). A progressive decline of a behavior in a habituation procedure may also reflect nonspecific effects such as fatigue, which must be ruled out when the interest is in habituation as a learning process.

Further References

Dong, S., & Clayton, D. F.. (2009). Habituation in songbirds. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 183–188.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.09.009
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Coppola, G., Pierelli, F., & Schoenen, J.. (2009). Habituation and migraine. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 249–259.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.07.006
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Schöner, G., & Thelen, E.. (2006). Using dynamic field theory to rethink infant habituation.. Psychological Review, 113(2), 273–299.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.113.2.273
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LEUSSIS, M., & BOLIVAR, V.. (2006). Habituation in rodents: A review of behavior, neurobiology, and genetics. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 30(7), 1045–1064.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2006.03.006
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Thompson, R. F.. (2009). Habituation: A history. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 127–134.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.07.011
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Groves, P. M., & Thompson, R. F.. (1970). Habituation: A dual-process theory.. Psychological Review, 77(5), 419–450.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/h0029810
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Thompson, R. F., & Spencer, W. A.. (1966). Habituation: A model phenomenon for the study of neuronal substrates of behavior. Psychological Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/h0022681
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Rankin, C. H., Abrams, T., Barry, R. J., Bhatnagar, S., Clayton, D. F., Colombo, J., … Thompson, R. F.. (2009). Habituation revisited: An updated and revised description of the behavioral characteristics of habituation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 135–138.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.09.012
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The ‘Weapons Priming Effect’ and aggressive behaviour

The weapons priming effect: A robust psychological finding which demonstrates that the mere presence of weapons causes significant increases in aggressive thoughts and violent behaviour, thereby implying that children should not be exposed to weapons (in reality and virtual reality, i.e., in vivo and silico).

http://weapons-priming-effect.ml REST-style URL: weapons-priming-effect.ml
Permanent URL: cognitive-liberty.online/weapons-priming-effect/
Abstract
The weapons priming effect is a psychological phenomenon described in the scientific domain of social and cognitive/affective psychology. It refers to the finding that the mere presence of a weapon (e.g., a picture of a weapon) leads to more aggressive and less prosocial thoughts and behaviors in humans beings. The effect was first described by Leonard Berkowitz & LePage (1967) in their publication “Weapons as Aggressions-Eliciting Stimuli” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers experimentally corroborated their hypothesis that stimuli commonly associated with aggression (i.e., weapons) elicit aggressive responses from people (i.e., people are primed to act aggressively). The weapons priming effect is a repeatedly replicated empirical finding in psychology. A meta-analysis conducted in 2018 supported the robustness of the effect. These finding are specifically relevant in the context of military PR campaigns which encourage children to “play” with guns. Next to important humanistic concerns, neurobiological considerations concerning brain development, developmental neuroplasticity, and Hebbian long-term potentiation (LTP) are pertinent in this context. If we want to create a peaceful future on this planet we need to ‘stop to teach our children how to kill’.
An overview of the psychology of human aggression and violence

Topically related lectures

Prof. Brad J. Bushman: Lecture on the weapons priming effect
Prof. Brad J. Bushman: TED talk on aggression and violence
Noam Chomsky: The Military Is Misunderstood
Noam Chomsky on Technology, Military and Education
Noam Chomsky on Technology and Military Research

 

Pertinent scientific references


Anderson, C. A., Benjamin, A. J., & Bartholow, B. D.. (1998). Does the Gun Pull the Trigger? Automatic Priming Effects of Weapon Pictures and Weapon Names. Psychological Science, 9(4), 308–314.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00061
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Benjamin, A. J., Kepes, S., & Bushman, B. J.. (2018). Effects of Weapons on Aggressive Thoughts, Angry Feelings, Hostile Appraisals, and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Weapons Effect Literature. Personality and Social Psychology Review : An Official Journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/1088868317725419
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Benjamin, A. J., Kepes, S., & Bushman, B. J.. (2018). Effects of Weapons on Aggressive Thoughts, Angry Feelings, Hostile Appraisals, and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Weapons Effect Literature.. Personality and Social Psychology Review : An Official Journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc, 22(4), 347–377.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/1088868317725419
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Benjamin, A. J., & Bushman, B. J.. (2016). The weapons priming effect. Current Opinion in Psychology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.05.003
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Dillon, K. P., & Bushman, B. J.. (2017). Effects of Exposure to Gun Violence in Movies on Children’s Interest in Real Guns. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(11), 1057.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.2229
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Gallina, M. F., & Fass, W.. (2014). The Weapons Effect in College Females. Violence and Gender

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1089/vio.2014.0020
DOI URL
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Lust, S. A., Saults, J. S., Henry, E. A., Mitchell, S. N., & Bartholow, B. D.. (2009). Dangerous minds: A psychophysiological study of alcohol, perception of weapons and racial bias. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Keywords:

  • affective cognitive psychology
  • agression
  • cross-generational responsibility
  • desensitisation
  • developmental neuroscience
  • habituation
  • hebbian long-term potentiation
  • humanism
  • military pr
  • military-industrial-enertainment complex
  • priming
  • Propaganda
  • social conditioning
  • social neuroscience
  • social psychology
  • spreading activation
  • violence
  • world peace

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