Short Fuse: #PhelpsFace and the Evolutionary Value of Anger

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all-the-rage-podcast-art-final

Normally, episodes of All the Rage will be about 30 minutes long.  Every now and then, though, I’ll do a much shorter episode, called a Short Fuse, on something topical.

In this Short Fuse, I talk about the #PhelpsFace meme that’s been floating around (see below) and what it tells us about the evolutionary value of anger.

All the Rage is a brand new podcast from Dr. Ryan Martin, psychologist and anger researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. From road rage to internet trolls, All the Rage covers all topics related to anger and violence. If you want to be a guest, or just have a question or an idea for an episode, call or text (920) 328-5167 or email me at martinr@uwgb.edu.

michaelphelps__game_face_2

Preview: All the Rage Podcast

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all-the-rage-podcast-art-finalCheck out a special preview episode of the new All the Rage podcast.  Starting in September, I’ll cover subjects like Road Rage, Internet Trolling, The Catharsis Myth, and more.  Guests will include other anger and violence experts from across the country, along with listeners who just have a great story to tell or question to ask.

In my September episode, I’ll be talking about Why We Get Mad and I’m looking for my first guest- someone who wants to tell a really good story about a time they got angry and help me break down the situational and individual factors that caused that anger.  If you want to be that guest, or just have an idea for an episode or a question, call or text (920) 328-5167 or email me at martinr@uwgb.edu.

Coming Soon: The All the Rage Podcast

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all-the-rage-podcast-art-finalIn September, All the Rage will be launching a monthly podcast on all topics related to anger and violence.  I’ll cover subjects like Road Rage, Internet Trolling, The Catharsis Myth, and more.  Guests will include other anger and violence experts from across the country, along with listeners who just have a great story to tell.

In this first episode, I’ll be talking about Why We Get Mad and I’m looking for my first guest- someone who wants to tell a really good story about a time they got angry and help me break down the situational and individual factors that caused that anger.  If you want to be that guest, or just have an idea for an episode or a question, call or text (920) 328-5167 or email me at martinr@uwgb.edu.

 

Does Anonymity Online Increase the Likelihood of Aggression?

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Online-Anonymity-at-Helmword-LtdIn today’s age of advancing technology and countless social media sites, it’s easier than ever to anonymously comment on posts, pictures and videos.  If you’re like me, you’ve seen some very heated conversations in the comments section of Facebook posts. So, what’s the deal here, are people more aggressive when they know they’re virtually anonymous?  This is the question Adam Zimmerman and Gabriel Ybarra (2016) researched in their Journal Article, “Online Aggression: The Influences of Anonymity and Social Modeling.”

Using 124 undergraduate students from the University of North Florida, the researchers had each of the participants do a word-unscrambling task with 2 other people. If they collectively unscrambled half of the words correctly, they each received a prize; at least this is what they were told.  However, unbeknown to the participants, the game was rigged and they were not actually playing along with others, ensuring that the participants always lost.  This was done in order to simulate an online frustrating social situation in which they felt let down by their “partners.” Participants were then able to write on a blog about their experience.  Half of the participants wrote their blogs anonymously and the other half did not. For both these groups, participants were also exposed to either a neutral blog post, or an aggressive blog post.

As you may have guessed, participants who remained anonymous indicated a higher temptation to purposefully aggress toward their alleged partners and they also used more aggressive words in their blog posts about their experience.  Participants, who were exposed to an aggressive blog post prior to writing their own, were also more aggressive, but only in the anonymous condition.

What these results tell us is that people are more likely to be aggressive online if their identity is anonymous.  Not only that, but if they’re exposed to aggressive posts and their identity is anonymous, they’re even more likely to be aggressive online. We can take these results and use them to influence our own online behavior.  Since we’ve seen that people are more likely to be aggressive online if they know their identity remains anonymous, we can analyze our own behavior as to what’s appropriate to say online. We should make it a point not to use anonymity as an excuse to act more aggressively than we normally would.  Not to mention, if anonymous online users are more likely to act aggressively if they see others doing so, our online aggression could also effect how aggressive others are online as well.  To keep online aggression in check, we can consider whether we would act differently if our identity were known, and adjust our comments and behavior accordingly.

By Nermana Turajlic
Nermana is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development. She plans on graduating in December 2016 and attending graduate school the following year.


Zimmerman, A. G., & Ybarra, G. J. (2016). Online aggression: The influences of             anonymity and social modeling. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture, 5(2),             181-193. doi:10.1037/ppm0000038

Ending Gun Violence: An Activist’s Guide

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After the horrifying shootings in Orlando last weekend, many Americans are again ready to try and do something about gun violence.  Here are four principles we should all embrace in this important fight.

Principle 1: Don’t Engage With Gun Enthusiasts

I’ve tried to have thoughtful debates about gun violence with gun enthusiasts in the past (I’ve even written some talking points), and I’ve watched as my friends have tried to have those same conversations in the days since the Orlando shooting.  Here’s what I’ve realized:

It’s useless.

It’s useless for the same reason that you shouldn’t try and convince adults that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.  If they still believe guns aren’t the problem, they will simply never stop believing it. You just have to shrug, tell them you’re sorry their brain is broken, and move on.  The good news is that you don’t need to convince them.  The polling is very clear; the majority of Americans support sensible gun laws.  Gun enthusiasts are in the minority and we should be able to easily pass the laws we want and finally become the “gun grabbers” they’ve been calling us all these years.  It makes you wonder why we haven’t done that, which brings us to principle number 2….

Principle 2: Know Who the Enemy Is

Why haven’t we passed those laws despite having an 85% to 15% advantage in polling on some gun control issues?  It’s obviously what the public wants so… why hasn’t it happened?  Everyone knows that answer to that question.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations on the planet, making sure that we can’t pass the laws we need (or even do the research we need).  They are immensely powerful, spending approximately 32 million dollars in 2014 on both elections and lobbying for/against specific bills.  The fact is that we will never pass meaningful gun legislation until the NRA loses its power, which brings us to principle number 3….

Principle 3: Do Not Donate Money to, Vote For, or Do Business with NRA Members/Supporters 

The first two parts of this seem obvious, but they aren’t.  The NRA donates a lot of money to many candidates, including a bunch of Democrats (in 2014, 11 Democrats in the House of Representatives took money from the NRA), so avoiding their reach is difficult.  In the end, though, we just can’t support anyone the NRA supports, even when we agree with them about other issues.  Make sure those Democrats know that taking money or an endorsement from the NRA means they won’t get money or a vote from you.

This principle isn’t just about politicians, though.  We shouldn’t do any business of any kind with NRA members.  Thinking of hiring someone to renovate your bathroom?  The first question you should ask the contractor is, “Are you an NRA member?”  If the answer is yes, find someone else and make sure he or she knows why.  Is the owner of your favorite restaurant an NRA member? If so, stop eating there and tell him or her why (if they want to argue with you about your decision, see principle 1).  If you think I’m being too harsh, consider this: Most of the NRA’s money comes from membership dues and individual donations from people like the contractor and restaurant owner I just described.  The first way to break the NRA is to make sure that being a member of the NRA or donating to the NRA comes with a cost.  The second way to break the NRA is to strengthen the good organizations that fight against them, which brings us to principle number 4….

Principle 4: Find an Advocacy Organization, and Join it

There are lots of options here, probably more than I’ve listed.  The links below take you to the “About” pages of their websites so you can learn more about each of them.

And don’t just join them and then delete the email they send you each week. Get involved when you can, donate money when you can, and attend rallies when you can. Let’s work to make these groups as formidable as their opposition.

 

 

Fact Check: Is “Hanger” For Real?

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hangerMany, if not all of us, have felt some increased sense of anger when we are hungry (a.k.a. “hangry”).  We hear the term used frequently among friends and now even food commercials use it to help sell their products. However, can someone actually be hangry?

Before we can answer this, we have to understand what food does for us.

It is well known that food is important for the human body and brain to operate efficiently. With a lack a food, we tend to feel the consequences of it. We get stomach aches, headaches, difficulties concentration, and lower energy. Although these are annoying, they are important for informing us that we need food and we need it now. When we are in this state of hunger, many people can get irritated or frustrated quickly.

Why does this state of hunger cause such negative emotions? Well most of it is contributed to the glucose in our body. Glucose is what makes the brain work and helps regulate self-control. In a study done by Dewall and associates (2011), they found that when glucose levels are increased, the likelihood of becoming aggressive decreased. So when we have a lack of food in our bodies, our glucose levels go down, resulting in difficulties controlling emotions and behaviors. This leads us to show our irritation and frustration more easily.

Knowing all this, we can clearly say that yes, someone can be hangry. Even though it is not a true emotion, the term hangry is a perfect way to explain a person’s current state of being hungry and angry at the same time.

So what can you do when you know are in a severe state of being hangry? Well, the cure is quite simple, you just need to eat. By eating, the symptoms of being hangry will go away, and should leave you in a more pleasant state of emotion.

By Annie Jones
Annie is a junior, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development, Human Biology, and German. After graduating from UWGB, she plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their Genetic Counseling Master’s program.


DeWall, C. N., Deckman, T., Gailliot, M. T., & Bushman, B. J. (2011). Sweetened blood cools hot tempers: Physiological self-control and aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 37(1), 73-80. doi:10.1002/ab.20366

Does Early Alcohol Use Lead to Higher Levels of Anger Later in Adolescence?

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8552231637_824c2c5821_bIn today’s world, underage drinking and violence are significant topics of interest, and there have been multiple studies that have found a link between heavy drinking, anger, and immediate violent behavior following the consumption of alcohol.  In order to evaluate just how much of an impact consuming alcohol during early adolescence has on later adolescence anger, Dr. Michelle Weiner and her colleagues conducted a study to investigate this relationship (Weiner, Pentz, Turner, & Dwyer, 2001).

The data for this study was collected longitudinally from Indianapolis, Indiana for a total of six years as part of a large drug abuse prevention trial (Weiner et. al, 2001). With 1201 participants in all, each participant was asked a series of four anger-related questions, including: “When I have a problem, I get mad at people”, “When I have a problem, I do bad things or cause trouble”, “When I have a problem, I say or do nasty things”, and “I am a hotheaded person”. Additionally, two items within the study asked each participant to report how many alcoholic drinks they had consumed, and how many times they had been drunk in the last 30 days (Weiner et. al, 2001).

Results of this study indicate overall that early adolescence alcohol consumption ultimately increases anger in later adolescence, controlling for gender, age, and socioeconomic status (Weiner et. al, 2001). Alcohol use in the past 30 days among 6th and 7th graders increased the odds of them saying or doing nasty things, being a self-reported hothead, and having a high anger score on the anger scale in grades 10 and 11. As the students grew older, their reports of anger and aggressive behavior only increased. For example, the students that had reported either consumption of alcohol or drunkenness in the past 30 days in grades 6 and 7, were associated with higher anger scores on the anger scale, as well as doing bad things to cause trouble in grades 9 through 12.

By Gracie Kellow
Gracie is a senior at UWGB who plans on graduating in December 2016 as a Psychology major with a mental health emphasis and a minor in Human Development. After graduation, she plans on attending law school.

Midwestern Psychological Association: Student Research

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Two of my honors students (Nermana Turajlic and Chelsea Giles) and three of my research assistants (Gretchen Kleftstad, Alese Nelson, and Annie Jones) presented their work at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in Chicago on May 5th, 2016.

Here is sample of their work:

Chelsea Giles and Nermana Turajlic: Does Swearing Decrease Anger and Physical Aggression (2016)

Chelsea Giles and Nermana Turajlic: Does Swearing Decrease Anger and Physical Aggression.

IMG_7959Nermana Turajlic and Chelsea Giles: Is There a Discrepancy in the Punishment of Kindergarten Aged Males Based on Race?

IMG_7923Gretchen Kleftstad, Alese Nelson, and Annie Jones: In-the-Moment Anger Experiences

Positive Aspects of Anger

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By Annie Jones
Annie is a junior, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development, Human Biology, and German. After graduating from UWGB, she plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their Genetic Counseling Master’s program.

A Goodbye Message (that you will climb like a tree)

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Dear Graduates,

Once again, I’ve been asked to write a goodbye message like the Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect ones I wrote last year and the year before.  This year, though, I wasn’t really feeling it.  I kept trying but everything just came out like a very sad handwritten book.

Anyway, instead, I just thought I would tell you all how thankful I am to have been able to teach you these last few years.  People ask me why I enjoy working with college students so much.  They say things like “when they reach that age, ugh. Disgusting. They smell, they’re sticky, they say things that are horrible.”  I get that, but I just really love teaching.

And I think I’m pretty good at it.  There were days when my lectures were so good, it felt like it was coming out of me like lava!  Honestly! I had a student shout out to me, “You’re really doing it, aren’t ya?”  The funny thing about teaching, though, is that even when I think I’m doing well, I sometimes get terrible course evaluations.  Students write things like, “you know, you’re not as popular as you think you are,” “you look like an old mop, “I feel bad for your parents,” or even “you’re an old, single loser who’s never going to have any friends.”  I’m not going to lie, that last one hurt a little.  I mean, why can’t you be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?

Fortunately, though, for every five or six really mean ones, there’s at least one sort of nice one.  Last semester, someone wrote that I am more beautiful than Cinderella and that I smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine!  It was a weird thing to write, but nice.

Of course, being a professor isn’t all about teaching.  I do a lot of research, advise students, and even supervise a few student organizations.  I’ll tell you something, students really tell us some deep secrets sometimes.  They think we’re just like priests… except we would tell everybody afterwards.   I had way too many advisees too.  I think I overcommitted with 9.  Six is a comfortable number.  My student organizations were into some weird stuff too that kept me on my toes.  One student suggested an event where we all come dressed as our favorite Pixar character, and another student was like, “or a Fight Club, a female fight club.”  I had to put a stop to that quick. Thanks. But…um, no way! No way in hell!

But enough about me.  This should be about you and the journey ahead.  I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to be tough.  You’re going to be like, “help me, I’m poor.” You’re going to try and blame the world for your problems.  You going to hit rock-bottom, but I want you to know that hitting bottom is a good thing. Because there’s nowhere to go but up.  Plus, I don’t associate with people who blame the world for their problems. You are your problem. You are also your solution.  Do you think my life has always been easy?  I had it rough when I was in school.  They called me a freak. Do you think I let that break me? Think I went home to my mommy crying; ‘Oh, I don’t have any friends.’ No, I did not. You know what I did? I pulled myself up. I studied really hard. I read every book in the library and now I work for the government. I have the highest possible security clearance. Don’t repeat that!

Whoa, sorry about that.  I’m obviously working through some stuff.

Don’t worry about me, though.  I’m gonna be fine. So don’t worry, okay? I’m gonna be…I’m gonna be fine. I am fine. And besides, you need to blaze the trail for me and then report back and tell me what’s coming.  So, in short, I would just like to say to you and to everyone here, “Gracias para vivar en la casa, en la escuelas, en… en la azul… “markada”. Tienes con “bibir” en las Fortuashla?” and gracias!

Yup, I would like to invite you to no longer live with us.  It’s time to graduate. This is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a… jerk.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love you all and will miss you.  Honestly, I really will miss each and every one of you.  You are such a stone-cold pack of weirdos, and I am so proud!

Sincerely,

Ryan Martin

PS. If this all came out wrong, I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end it came out of.