Holding A Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too

2188722508_c8313a49fa_nWonder if this ever comes into play in real life? Via Science Blog:

Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows. In five experiments, subjects were shown multiple images of people and determined whether the person was holding a gun or a neutral object such as a soda can or cell phone. Subjects did this while holding either a toy gun or a neutral object, such as a foam ball.

Simply showing observers a nearby gun did not influence their behavior; holding and using the gun was important. By virtue of affording the subject the opportunity to use a gun, he or she was more likely to classify objects in a scene as a gun and, as a result, to engage in threat-induced behavior, such as raising a firearm to shoot.

“Now we know that a person’s ability to act in certain ways can bias their recognition of objects as well, and in dramatic ways. It seems that people have a hard time separating their thoughts about what they perceive and their thoughts about how they can or should act.”

12 Comments on "Holding A Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too"

  1.  This article makes no difference to the thousands of concealed carry persons. No one but police walk around with their gun in their hand. As stated in the article for the delusion to propagate you must be holding a fire arm in hand at the time of contact to possible be effected. CC permitted person do not hold or gesture to the fire arm they are carrying at all in fact it is imperative that the fire arm is concealed in a way that will not imprint or be visible in any way. Any citizen that was seen holding a firearm in hand would be charged with brandishing and threatening.

    • Calypso_1 | Mar 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm |

      When I conceal carry I have a keen awareness of other individuals who are most likely to be carrying as well.  This is vital for situational awareness and tactical decision making.  I have seen this awareness in others who carry as well. 

  2. So, they are acting like this is a big revelation? All you need to do is observe people and observe yourself to see this. This doesn’t just apply to firearms. I’ve noticed, after picking up some hand to hand combat training, that I tend to watch for that stuff in others. People do the same things in social interactions too. Like my aunt once said, “If you are a liar and a cheat, you tend to think everyone else is too..” 

    •  You know that is True. When i was involved in kick boxing i tended to think others were trained as well. Just like you say it really has nothing to do with fire arms and more to do with knowledge you have recently gained or even who you are surrounded by. Kind of explains why cops think everyone is a criminal, Most cops are power mad criminals so they see every one as power mad criminals.

  3. Sort of in line with the idea that “He who looks behind the door must have hid there once himself”,

  4. it matches the intent as described “looking for a fight”

  5. You become aware of POSSIBILITIES you paid no previous attention to…

    “If I have a gun, someone else might have a gun. I better be on the lookout…”

    I carry concealed and I find myself trying to spot concealed pistols all the time, mostly just for fun. A mental exercise.

    When I practiced martial arts, I used to see if I could spot fighters in public (often it’s easy—look for cauliflower ears or flat noses, but enlarged / calloused / skinned knuckles are often giveaways, too.)

    It’s like buying a new car then suddenly noticing all similar cars on the road; just a shift in what you pay attention to or consider possible.

  6. In the real world, a person picks up a weapon that’s ready for use in a THREAT situation, and that’s been true since the highest tech weapon available was a rock. 

    Of course a person who is holding a weapon is instinctually driven to look for THREATS.

  7. Matt Shondrick | Mar 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm |

    this isnt news

  8. Since changing my home protection from a firearm to a pair of chow chows, one of which sleeps at the foot of my bed, I feel safer, and sleep sounder. I also don’t worry about being half asleep and accidentally mistaken my wife for a prowler and shooting her as she returns from the bathroom late at night.

  9. Bruteloop | Mar 28, 2012 at 10:08 am |

    I always assume people other than me have super powers as well.

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