Wielding a Gun? You're More Likely to Think Others Are
New study finds that holding a gun influences how you see others
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2012 11:22 AM CDT
People holding guns are more likely to assume others are also holding guns, a new study finds.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new study's results are particularly disturbing in light of the Trayvon Martin case: If a person is holding a gun, he or she is more likely to assume others are holding guns as well. The University of Notre Dame study asked subjects to look at images and determine whether the person depicted was holding a gun or something neutral, like a soda can. As they looked, the subjects were themselves holding either a toy gun or a foam ball, and those who were holding the toy guns were more likely to report the presence of a gun.

The images shown to subjects were varied: Some people were depicted in ski masks, and various races were included, but the results remained the same. "Beliefs, expectations, and emotions can all influence an observer’s ability to detect and to categorize objects as guns," says one of the researchers. "Now we know that a person’s ability to act in certain ways," such as by holding a gun, "can bias their recognition of objects as well, and in dramatic ways."

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Showing 3 of 84 comments
Mar 20, 2012 10:12 PM CDT
Not everyone thinks this way. I certainly don't, plus I can tell the difference between a gun and a coke can. They don't look anything alike. Besides, what the hell are you thinking, bringing a can of soda pop to a gunfight!
Mar 20, 2012 6:34 PM CDT
everytime these anti-gun articles show up on newser I take my guns out, clean em, fondle them and then research new guns to buy. check out the first production ready double barreled 45 semi. that would be great for the zombie apocalypse.
Mar 20, 2012 5:40 PM CDT
I learned a lot about guns in America, outside of firing a few. Having spent a day firing 'em, I did think a lot more about who had 'em. I was in Texas, so it could have been anyone.