Media releases

  • Teens who bully will use those traits to get sex, new research shows

    MEDIA RELEASE: 10 January 2018  – R00005

    New research by Brock University shows adolescent bullies have a higher number of sexual partners than their non-bullying peers.

    Building on previous studies on the issue, Brock Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies Tony Volk looked at what makes teens willing and able to use bullying as a strategy to meet their sexual needs.

    “Is it being really angry? Is it being really reckless? Is it being really low in empathy? These are all common ideas to explain this behaviour,” says Volk, whose research was published last month in the journal Evolutionary Psychology Science.

    “The answer, generally speaking, was no to all of that,” he says. “The one common personality trait was being willing to exploit others, an arrogant belief that you deserve better than other people or that different rules apply to you, something, sadly, we see in the adult world.”

    The research team, headed by Volk, set up two groups, one consisting of younger teens with an average age of 13.5, and another group with an average age of 18.5.

    Participants in both groups filled out the HEXACO Personality Inventory and a questionnaire that measured how frequently they were involved in bullying activities in school.

    Co-developed by Brock University and the University of Calgary, the HEXACO model measures six major dimensions of personality: honesty-humility; emotionality; extraversion; agreeableness (versus anger); conscientiousness; and openness to experience.

    The team found that both older and younger teens who scored low in honesty-humility were most “willing and able to use bullying as a way to get sexual partners, which in turn may increase their sexual opportunities,” says the study, titled “Do Bullies Have More Sex? The Role of Personality.”

    Older teens who scored low on agreeableness and were more introverted were also more likely to be bullies, although they didn’t necessarily have more sexual partners than their non-bullying peers.

    Teens bullying to gain sexual partners exhibit several characteristic behaviours, Volks says.

    Boys tend to intimidate girls by controlling the girls’ movements and who they have access to, and threaten to harm the girls’ reputations if they don’t go along with the boys’ demands.

    Volk says girls tend to “browbeat” boys into doing what the girls want and also threaten to harm the boys’ reputations.

    Both boys and girls will attack their same-sex competitors.

    “Because the bullies view themselves as being more deserving and others as less deserving, they’re more likely to view life as a competition where there are winners and losers: ‘I’m going to knock down the losers so I can be a winner,’” says Volk.

    Opinions vary as to the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate on whether bullying and other types of behaviours are biologically determined or come about as a result of environment.

    This includes mixed messages about respecting women and prominent figures who bully to get what they want, says Volk.

    “The analogy I always use when I talk about development is that it’s like baking chocolate chip cookies,” says Volk. “What’s more important to have? Chocolate chips, which are your biological ingredients, or an oven, which is the environment? You need both.”

    He says bullying by teens who score low on honesty-humility can be reduced if parents are aware of their teens’ activities.

    “Our results suggest that both research and intervention efforts with older and younger adolescents need to recognize and respond to the relationships between personality, sex and bullying,” says the study, whose first author, Daniel Provenzano, was a master’s student at Brock. Provenzano is now at the University of Windsor.

    There are ways to cut down on teen bullying, says Volk. These include:

    ·      Changing competitions in schools to move away from a winner-loser model to one where many people win

    ·      Addressing issues of income inequality

    ·      Provide bullies with meaningful roles and responsibilities in schools and at home

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Ontario grant helps Brock create first-of-its-kind wine consumer lab

    MEDIA RELEASE: 8 January 2018 – R00004

    The Ontario Government has announced $960,000 in funding to help Brock University create the world’s first augmented reality, virtual reality and sensory reality consumer laboratory.

    The new money from the Ontario Research Fund matches a recent federal grant, and combines with support from the grape and wine industry that will enable Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) to launch the landmark facility, to be known as the R3CL.

    The Ontario grant was announced Monday, Jan. 8 by Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. The $1-million R3CL lab is part of a $2.4-million project that will greatly enhance CCOVI’s research and studies into fermentation, wine flavour and consumer behaviour.

    Moridi said Monday the Brock lab is one of 53 projects at 17 post-secondary institutions the province is investing nearly $137 million in through the Ontario Research Fund.

    “We are pleased that the Ontario government recognizes the important role Brock University’s research plays in helping Ontario’s grape and wine industry be more strategic and successful in a competitive global marketplace,” said Brock University President Gervan Fearon.

    After making the announcement Monday, Moridi was invited to test out the virtual reality technology that will be included in the $1-million R3CL (Physical, Augmented and Virtual Reality Consumer Lab), which will be used to create a variety of environments in which people purchase and consume wines. Researchers will study how a range of factors such as sights, sounds and smells impact choice and impression of wine.

    “Supporting Ontario’s researchers as they make breakthrough discoveries will help advance technology and drive economic growth across the province,” said Moridi. “Making sure they are working in state-of-the-art facilities with the most up-to-date technology will help researchers do their best work and lay the groundwork for new products and services, and economic opportunity for people in Ontario.”

    The $2.4-million project also includes expanding the capacity of CCOVI’s research winery to include a state-of-the-art fermentation facility, as well as the purchase of several advanced analytical instruments required for grape and wine flavour and aroma analysis.

    “We’re thrilled to see that addressing the research priorities of the grape and wine industry is in direct alignment with the provincial priorities of supporting world-class research, commercialization and innovation,” said Brock University Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.

    CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis said the research at Brock has a direct impact on Ontario’s $4.4-billion wine industry.

    “CCOVI’s research tackles priority areas of the grape and wine industry. By working together between the government, academia and industry, we’re able to put forward solutions that help drive our economy forward,” said Inglis, pointing out that a recent economic impact study found CCOVI contributed more than $91 million and the equivalent of 307 jobs to Ontario’s economy.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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    Categories: Media releases