Principal Investigator: dr hab. Joanna Rajchert, Associate Professor

Funding programme: National Science Centre Grant Preludium BIS no. 2021/43/O/HS6/00947, years: 2022 – 2026

Description: The scientific aim of this project is to clarify the mechanism that could explain why playing violent video games may lead to aggression. The novelty of this project lies in the idea of distinction between cognitive processes which may be affected by video game violence, VGV, (desensitization vs. sensitization to anger and hostile cues in ambiguous situations) which together may increase aggression depending on individual characteristics. It was predicted, that effects of VGV on anger recognition and attention to hostile cues would be qualified by antisocial personality. In particular, in highly antisocial individuals (inmates would be higher on antisocial personality traits) VGV will result in increased sensitivity and more attention to anger, in contrast to individuals with low antisocial personality who would respond to VGV with desensitization and more attention to non-hostile cues. It was also predicted that increased sensitization to anger and attention to hostile cues resulting from VGV consumption would predict aggressive behavior. The predictions would be tested in 4 studies. The first would be conducted in a correlational design and will test the effect of the recent history of violent game consumption (during last year) on sensitization toward anger in ambiguous faces and aggression in inmates and community-dwelling participants, depending on antisocial personality traits. Study 2 and 3 would test the same hypothesis as the first study with the experimental design and with reference to the short-term exposure to VGV. In Study 3, the attentional bias to anger (longer fixation on hostile cues vs. non-hostile cues) would be measured with the eye-tracking procedure. Finally, in study 4 a meta-analysis would be conducted which will include studies on the video game violence effect on implicit cognitions.

Polish title: Wpływ gier komputerowych zawierających przemoc na nieświadome wrogie myśli i agresję u więźniów i osób niekaranych

Principal investigator: dr hab. APS Anna Zajenkowska, Associate Professor

Funding programme: National Science Centre Grant Sonata BIS

Description: The project, carried out in the years 2022-2027, consists of two parts:

I) deepening the knowledge about the relationship between hostile attributions and personality disorders, as well as deconstructing the contextual and cognitive foundations of hostile attributions (also in the clinical population), which will allow for:

II) research the effectiveness of psychotherapy aimed at reducing the severity of symptoms of personality disorders by working with hostile attributes. The results from Part I of the project will be used to create indicators (contextual and cognitive) of changes in hostile attributions, which will then be tested in Part II of the project. Understanding of hostile attributions, especially among patients with personality disorders, will facilitate the definition of precise indicators of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. The project will cover several types of research, including experimental and diary research. Cognitive functions will be tested using an eye tracker.

Polish title: Związek pomiędzy wrogimi atrybucjami a symptomami zaburzeń osobowości: kontekstowe i poznawcze podstawy wrogich atrybucji jako wskaźnik skuteczności terapii zaburzeń osobowości

Principal investigator: Marta Bodecka-Zych, Research Assistant

Funding programme: NCN 2021/41/N/HS6/01111, 2022-2025

Description: The current project has four main objectives. The first objective is to verify and expand previous research results indicating that the level of a father’s hostile attribution bias (HAB) predicts the level of his son’s attributional bias. The second objective is to compare (using the eye-tracking technique) the processing patterns of ambiguous social stimuli by fathers and sons. The third objective is to investigate the mechanism of transgenerational transmission of HAB. And the fourth objective is to examine and compare the effectiveness of methods that could a) correct the non-adaptive perceptions of reality and b) reduce the impact of transgenerational transmission at both encoding and interpretation levels.

Implementation of the current study seems to offer an opportunity to better understand at which level of social information processing the hostile distortion is more evident and explicit, learn more about the transferability of HAB from father to son, explore the mechanism of this phenomenon and contributes to learning how to reduce aggressiveness among young people.

Polish title: Transgeneracyjne przekazywanie wrogich atrybucji – z ojca na syna. Jak skutecznie redukować tendencje do wrogiego interpretowania sytuacji społecznych?

Principal Investigator: dr hab Anna Zajenkowska, Associate Professor

Funding programme: National Science Centre Grant, UMO-2017/26/D/HS6/00258, 2017-2022

Description: The main objective of this project is to examine psychological factors, which reduce tendencies for hostile attributions. The first part of this project focused on differences between groups differing in terms of relational-self. Second part of the project focused on priming relational-self and collective-self. The last part of the project was a psycho-educational training of mentalization that aimed to develope the self-other perspective.

Polish title: Czy wroga percepcja rzeczywistości może być zmieniona? Psychologiczne czynniki redukujące wrogie atrybucje

Principal investigator: dr hab. Joanna Rajchert, Associate Professor

Funding programme: BST 2021/2022

Description: The purpose of the present study was to determine whether rejection in a heteronormative romantic relationship by a person of the opposite sex would lead to a preference for different reproductive strategies (mating strategies) than in acceptance situation. Previous research has shown that women convinced that they would spend the future alone, or recalling their own experience of exclusion from a relationship, tended to prefer short-term mating strategies, while men in the same situations were less likely to engage in aggressive sexual behavior, bounce partners to other men (sexual poaching) and use risky techniques to discourage their partner from leaving the relationship (retention tactics). I predict that exclusion (compared to acceptance) will lead to a stronger preference for short-term partner selection strategies in women and a stronger preference for long-term strategies in men, but also a greater tendency to use risky partner retention tactics and a lower propensity to poach. The study will further validate the sexual exchange theory but also develop knowledge on how to do men and women optimize partner selection strategies in response to changing social conditions.

Polish title: Wpływ odrzucenia płci przeciwnej na strategie kojarzenia się

Principal investigator: dr Ewa Duda

Funding programme: BSTP Interdyscyplinar

Description: The main aim of the project is to identify the role of individual and situational factors in the correction of moral judgements. The project comprises two studies, which are aimed at verifying the relationship between individual (empathy, impulsivity, causality, communitarianism, sensitive narcissism), situational (social exclusion) variables and in particular the asymmetric nature of moral judgment correction, i.e., equal correction of guilt as a result of both mitigating and exacerbating information. The result of our project will be a model that takes into account situational variables and individual characteristics that enhance or inhibit the correction of moral judgements.

Polish title: Czynniki indywidualne i sytuacyjne związane z rodzicielskim korygowaniem sądów moralnych – badania z wykorzystaniem stymulacji przezczaszkowe

Principal investigator: Jean Gagnon, M.Ps., Ph.D. and coinvestigator, Anna Zajenkowska, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Funding programme: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, years: 2023-2024

Description: The project, carried out in the years 2022-2027, consists of two parts:

Social reintegration of offenders by recognizing their ability to evolve in a positive way is a top priority when it comes to resocialization process as it also contributes to the protection of society. There are several instruments to facilitate the process, such as on work reintegration or psychoeducational services aiming to sensitize inmates towards different social and personal problems. So far psychoeducational workshops aimed at reducing violent behaviours are a key element as they support inmates to re-established social functioning. However, the trainings are primarily based on behavioural methods and teaching, and a complimentary training that targets underling socio-cognitive mechanisms of anger, the greatest antecedent of aggression, is needed. Often aggressive person reacts with anger and aggression to provocations in order to defend against a perceived threat. This perceived threat could be a result of a hostile attribution in the processing of social information in a given situation. Hostile attribution is the tendency to believe that the actor did something with hostile purpose, intentionally, and is to be blamed for that. Reducing deficits in social information processing, including hostile attribution, are among the treatment goals of Canada’s correctional system for violent offenders. Indeed, preliminary data confirms that cognitive interventions to correct hostile attribution can reduce aggressive behavior and help inmates to function more adequately in social roles. Nonetheless more studies are needed to integrate methods aiming at the reduction of hostile attribution. That to say the current international collaborative project aims to target the tendency to blame, i.e., hostile attributions with a previously tested mentalization based training and an adaptation of implementation intentions training. We want to incorporate them into a complex method reducing hostile attributions called Mentalizing & Implementation Intentions Training (MIIT) and further adapt this novel and coherent training for correctional facilities so it can be applied in Leclerc Institution and later to other correctional institutions. To achieve this aim and with a strong desire to develop new services, Leclerc has joined forces with two researchers renowned for their work on reactive aggression and associated socio-cognitive factors, in order to intervene at the source of these behaviours. Dr. Gagnon and prof. Zajenkowska together with their PhD students as well as Mrs. Catherine Samuel, a client advisor and professional member of Leclerc Institution will organize and oversee group meetings aimed at preparing a clear manual for the integrated MIIT, train the trainers, implement the training, and finally conduct an efficacy study. Independently of the cultural differences, hostility is basis for aggression and violence. Merely by targeting and ameliorating the tendency to perceived threats from the others and see others as hostile enemies, inmates can re-establish relationships based on trust and therefore decrease the thread that they quite often constitute themselves.

Polish title: Rozwój innowacyjnego treningu psychoedukacyjnego mającego na celu obniżenie wrogich atrybucji w grupie osadzonych kobiet: Partnerstwo z Établissement Leclerc de Laval wykorzystaniem stymulacji przezczaszkowe

dr hab. Anna Zajenkowska //
dr hab. Joanna Rajchert  //
The Maria Grzegorzewska University  //  Szczęśliwicka 40 Street  //  02-353 Warsaw

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