CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 4, 1999
UI journal features social psychology research
IOWA CITY, Iowa Research on negative and sometimes
violent reactions to childhood teasing, acting against gender discrimination,
and avoidance of genetic testing will appear in the October 1999 issue of
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, which is published at the University
of Iowa and edited by Jerry M. Suls, a UI professor of psychology.
Teasing can lead to lingering hostility, violence
Individuals who tend to overreact emotionally are more
likely to be teased than are those without this personality trait. These individuals
also expressed more anger about being teased, were less likely to forgive
their teasers, and were more likely to feel that angry, hostile reactions
are the best way to respond to teasing.
These are the results of a study, led by John Georgesen
of the University of Kentucky, which examined the relationship between personality
and teasing experiences. It suggests that individuals with certain personality
characteristics are at risk for being teased in childhood and for carrying
those negative aspects into adulthood.
Relations between personality and teasing extended to
the teaser as well as the victim. Individuals who were high in extroversion
were more likely to tease others and less likely to feel remorse for teasing.
Teasing often has been ignored as a harmless part of childhood.
However, with the recent spate of school shootings in which teasing has been
implicated as a major cause, that attitude is now being questioned, Georgesen
To reach Georgesen, contact Doug Tattershall in the University
of Kentucky Public Relations office at (606) 257-1754.
Preventing discrimination requires women to think of
Research has consistently shown that most women do not
believe gender discrimination will happen to them. This attitude makes women
less likely to work to end discrimination, according to Mindi Foster of the
University of North Dakota, who found that women's ability to recognize their
own vulnerability to discrimination is related to how they describe women
Women who think that women as a group share stereotypical
characteristics, such as being emotional or overly sensitive, are less likely
to recognize their personal vulnerability to discrimination. But women who
think that women as a group share certain experiences, such as pay inequity
or being victimized, are more likely to recognize that gender discrimination
can affect them personally.
Based on these findings, Foster said the route to encouraging
women to act against gender discrimination is for women to think of themselves
as members of a group that share experiences, not stereotypical characteristics.
"Despite our tendency to think of ourselves as immune
from bad events, it seems that just the oppositethinking we are personally
vulnerablemay be the key to acting against, and ultimately reducing,
gender discrimination," Foster said.
Foster can be reached at (701) 777-4496.
Interest in genetic testing depends on potential benefits
People are more likely to seek genetic testing for diseases
if the tests will lead to controlling disease, according to a team of researchers
led by Shoshana Shiloh at Tel Aviv University in Israel. If the genetic test
does not offer the ability to control disease, then potential testees will
determine whether to undergo the test based on its ability to predict with
If the test can predict reliably whether a person will
become ill, then people who cope with threat by seeking information are interested,
while people who cope with threat by avoiding information are not.
The authors said their findings support the contention
that educating prospective testees about the limitations of genetic testing
may decrease interest in testing.
Shiloh can be reached by telephone, 972-3-6417451, or