The focus of research in the Aggressive Cognitions and Behaviour Research (ACBR) Laboratory is on the conceptualization and measurement of cognitions (e.g., 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 is the foundation of effective and efficient assessment and intervention aimed at managing and 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 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and awards from Carleton University.

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

Some of our current collaborators are 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), and John Zelenski (Carleton University).