Study: Men Who Abuse Think Others Do Too

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A new study shows that abusive men overestimate how common abuse is. From the story on Futurity:

“We don’t know why men make these overestimations, but there are a couple of likely reasons,” says Clayton Neighbors, an affiliate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington and a professor of psychology at the University of Houston.

“Men who engage in violent behavior justify it in their mind by thinking it is more common and saying, ‘Most guys slap their women around so it is okay to engage in it.’ Or it could be that misperceptions about violence cause the behavior.”

While violence against women is hardly a positive topic, the bright side of this study is that it does shed some light on possible methods of prevention:

It is unclear if we can change perpetrators’ behavior by correcting their misperceptions about intimate partner violence,” Walker says.

However, work in alcohol use suggests that changing misperceptions about drinking changes drinking behavior among college students. Consistent with social norms theory, people are motivated to be ‘average’ in many ways, particularly if the behavior in question could be considered risky or taboo.”

For more information read the whole story.

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