The focus of research in the Aggressive Cognitions and Behaviour Research (ACBR) Laboratory is on the conceptualization and measurement of cognitions—such as attitudes—thought to be relevant to violent behaviour, and the role these cognitions may play in violent behaviour. Our main goal is to contribute to scientific knowledge about the causes of violence, which provides the foundation for effective and efficient assessment and intervention aimed at reducing violence.

In our research we have most often used cross-sectional, retrospective, and longitudinal non-experimental designs, as well as the occasional randomized experiment. Our studies have been conducted online, in the lab, federal and provincial prisons, and forensic psychiatric hospitals. Most of our projects have involved collecting data directly from participants (students, people in the community, inmates, or patients), but we also sometimes use archival datasets or conduct meta-analytic reviews of the literature. Our work has been funded by grants and awards from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research, and Carleton University.

Research projects planned for the next few years will focus on attitudes toward non-sexual violence in online studies with university students and men from the general public. In these projects, we will continue to develop, evaluate, and refine measures; explore the relationship between attitudes and other cognitive constructs; and test the extent to which attitudes influence violent behaviour.

Some of our current collaborators are Justin Carré (Nipissing University), Liam Ennis (University of Alberta), Leandre Fabrigar (Queen’s University), Chantal Hermann (Ministry of the Solicitor General of Ontario), Zoe Hilton (Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care), Sandy Jung (MacEwan University), Sacha Maimone (The Royal), Pedro Pechorro (University of Algarve), Chloe Pedneault (Government of Canada), Anna Pham (Government of Canada), Devon Polaschek (University of Waikato), and John Zelenski (Carleton University).