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Guns, Testosterone, and Aggression Article Review

Guns, Testosterone, and Aggression Article Review Echo Royal Psych 210 D1 The focus of this particular research paper was to prove or disprove the theory that testosterone levels would rise based on the presence of a toy gun. The independent variable consisted of a pellet gun identical to a Desert Eagle handgun for the experimental subjects and the Mouse Trap children’s game for the control subjects. The dependent variable was the amount of hot sauce each test subject placed into individual cups for the next test subjects.

The population studied for this research were 30 male college students willing to provide saliva samples. The procedures that were followed were simplistic. Each of the men provided a saliva sample for a baseline testosterone level. They were then put into a room with a TV, a table with a piece of paper and either the gun or game. They were instructed to draw the object and write a set of instructions to assemble and dissemble it. After 15 minutes, the experimenter obtained a second saliva sample and measured the testosterone level.

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The subjects were then instructed to taste a cup of water that had hot sauce in it that was prepared by a previous subject and rate the taste. The subjects were then bought a cup of water and asked to put as much hot sauce in it as the wanted to for the next set of test subjects. The results were that the men that interacted with the gun showed a greater increase in testosterone and they added more hot sauce to the water than those with the toy.

Based on this particular research, it too appears that aggression and testosterone are increased just by interacting with something that represents violence. Psychologists could use this research to help troubled kids and adults get to the root of some of their issues of aggressive behavior or anger issues and be able to start dealing with it constructively. This study is not relevant to an entire population because it only tests willing college students, in a controlled environment. Were the men placed in a room all together?

If so, were they compelled to add sauce amounts based on how much the other subjects were adding? Were these subjects compensated to participate? It does not touch on real hard-core aggression or violence. The procedure was low budget but adequate for the simplicity of this specific research. The saliva test is a very accurate test for testosterone levels. The other way to check levels is to draw blood and that can be expensive and time consuming. If given adequate funds to perform research in this area, I would like to expand upon this research.

I would use more of the population, older and younger men. I would pull from prisoners and those known to have aggression, anger issues and those known not to have issues. I would expand the independent variables to include using violent and non-violent video games, watching violent and non-violent movie clips, handling machine guns, unloaded of course, a baseball bat or maybe a machete. Some un-inhibiting items such as a stuffed animal, a Bible, or interacting with a child with a game.

The saliva tests before and after the interactions are adequate and reliable. I would have the subjects also undergo a baseline blood pressure and heart rate check before and repeat that after the interaction. Also, answer a few questions before and after and perform a physical aggression test to determine their aggression levels. I think it would be beneficial to test these men alone as well as in a group with other men and then with a woman as well, I believe the testosterone levels would be different for each scenario.

It would also be interesting to repeat all these same tests with women as the test subjects, even though women’s testosterone levels are far less than men’s all ready. All of this research is frivolous if it is not utilized to help others in some way. We can learn after the fact about aggression, but what we need is to learn how to help people from acting out destructively, or help them learn to harness that aggression constructively.


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