Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Research Project

Understanding the Meaning-Making of Violence: Bridging Perception, Cognition, and Cultural Schema

2018 – 2020
Eye-tracking analysis presented by Preethi Vaidyanathan as part of the "Allure of Violence" conference at the Neubauer Collegium, October 12, 2018.

Eye-tracking analysis presented by Preethi Vaidyanathan as part of the "Allure of Violence" conference at the Neubauer Collegium, October 12, 2018.

Project Summary

This project mixed methodologies from psychology, neuroscience, and the performing arts to reveal how people are affected by violent images.

Research Team

Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Associate Professor; Associate Chair, Department of Psychology

University of Chicago

Marc Berman runs the Environmental Neuroscience Lab, which is interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior. Understanding the relationship between individual psychological and neural processing and environmental factors lies at the heart of his research. The lab...

Kyoung whan Choe

Kyoung whan Choe

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Chicago Environmental Neuroscience Lab

Kyoung is a cognitive neuroscientist, who uses simple games, brain imaging, eye-tracking, and machine learning to study how the internal and external environment affects human cognition. He currently investigates (1) neurocognitive mechanisms of math anxiety and math avoidance, (2)...

Dario Maestripieri

Dario Maestripieri

Professor in Comparative Human Development

University of Chicago

Dario Maestripieri is a Professor in Comparative Human Development and is also affiliated with the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.

His current main interests are, a) evolution of human behavior and its biological regulation, b) 20th century European...

Coltan Scrivner

Coltan Scrivner

UX Researcher and Author


He is a multidisciplinary behavioral scientist who integrates the empathic eye of anthropology with the careful experimental design of psychology to uncover deep insights about human behavior. He is a leading expert on the psychology of horror and morbid curiosity.

Richard Shweder

Richard Shweder

Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development

University of Chicago

Richard A. Shweder's recent research examines the scopes and limits of pluralism and the multicultural challenge in Western liberal democracies. He examines the norm conflicts that arise when people migrate from Africa, Asia and Latin America to countries in the “North”. They bring with them...

Project Narrative

Reading List

Bartsch, A., Mares, M.-L., Scherr, S., Kloß, A., Keppeler, J., & Posthumus, L.

More Than Shoot-Em-Up and Torture Porn: Reflective Appropriation and Meaning-Making of Violent Media Content: Media Violence and Meaning-Making Journal of Communication, 66(5), 741–765 (2016) Read

Fagan, G. G.

The Lure of the Arena New York: Cambridge University Press (2011) Read

Fiske, A. P., & Rai, T. S.

Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships Cambridge University Press (2014) Read

Goldstein, J. (Ed.)

Why We Watch: The Attractions of Violent Entertainment Oxford University Press (1998) Read

Henderson, J. M., & Luke, S. G.

Stable individual differences in saccadic eye movements during reading, pseudoreading, scene viewing, and scene search Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 40(4), 1390–1400 (2014) Read

Ibarra, F., & Maestripieri, D.

Assessing People’s Interest in Images with Violent or Disgusting Content: a Functional-Evolutionary Analysis Evolutionary Psychological Science, 3(2), 133–140 (2017) Read

Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Hanich, J., Wassiliwizky, E., Jacobsen, T., & Koelsch, S.

The distancing-embracing model of the enjoyment of negative emotions in art reception Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40 (2017) Read

Molenberghs, P., Gapp, J., Wang, B., Louis, W. R., & Decety, J.

Increased Moral Sensitivity for Outgroup Perpetrators Harming Ingroup Members Cerebral Cortex, 26(1), 225–233 (2016) Read

Süssenbach, P., Eyssel, F., Rees, J., & Bohner, G.

Looking for blame: rape myth acceptance and attention to victim and perpetrator Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(15), 2323–2344 (2015) Read

Ware, L. J., Lassiter, G. D., Patterson, S. M., & Ransom, M. R.

Camera perspective bias in videotaped confessions: Evidence that visual attention is a mediator Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14(2), 192–200 (2008) Read


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