The material culture of homicidal fantasies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

A descriptive study was conducted of normal undergraduate students' impulsive homicidal thoughts and the weapons used in these fantasies. Participants completed a questionnaire asking them to describe a recent incident in which they thought about killing someone. A significant proportion of participants reported having homicidal fantasies. Most fantasies were elicited by frustrating or threatening interpersonal events and involved material-cultural weapons (e.g., firearms, knives, clubs) as opposed to organismic weapons (e.g., hands, feet). Material-cultural weapons were rated as easier to use and more lethal than organismic weapons, and participants reported higher self-efficacy beliefs for using material-cultural weapons. Most participants reported that they had been exposed to mass media models using their weapons of choice and that they had access to these weapons. The findings are interpreted as evidence for evolved psychological machinery that can associate material-cultural implements with aggressive behavior and rehearse this association through fantasy. Aggr. Behav. 26:225-234, 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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