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The influence of target gender on shooting behaviour : an examination of the role of automatic bias and controlled processes / by Evanya Muslino.

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Canadian Policing Research



Alternate Title

Gender and shooting behaviour




Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-116).


1 online resource (xiii,140 pages)


Thesis (M.A.)--Carleton University, 2012.


Research in the U.S. has indicated that target race influences decisions to "shoot" or "not shoot" targets in simulated shooting tasks. The purpose of this thesis was to extend this line of research by examining gender. Specifically, males tend to be perceived as being more aggressive than females due to the existence of gender stereotypes. As a result of this, decisions to "shoot" or "not shoot" targets may be influenced by the gender of the target. Two studies were conducted using a shooting task similar to the task used in previous research to examine whether a gender bias was present in the shoot/don't shoot decisions of Canadian participants. In addition, factors that were likely to increase or decrease the degree of gender bias in such decisions were examined. Study 1 (n = 61) found that participants tended to display a male bias in their shoot/don't shoot decisions. Study 2 (n = 123) introduced scenes that varied by complexity. As expected, and consistent with Study 1, this study demonstrated that a male bias existed in the shooting decisions of participants and that this bias was exacerbated under conditions of high complexity. The theoretical and practical implications of this research are discussed, focusing primarily on potential reasons for the male shooting bias and what the bias might mean for use of force training. Directions for future research are also suggested.


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