Individual differences in sensitivity to aggressive triggers
I have developed the Situational Triggers of Aggressive Responses (STAR) scale (Lawrence, 2006), which measures sensitivity to two main types of trigger: (1) provocations from other people and (2) frustrations. The STAR scale has been validated in offender and on-offender samples, and relates to trait aggression, narcissism and the perception of aggressive events.
Psychopathy and behaviour in secure settings
I am examining the behaviour of psychopathic individuals within secure therapeutic settings, to examine the impact of therapeutic and other interventions on daily behaviour over time. This work is being conducted with doctoral student Chris Beeley and Todd Hogue at Rampton hospital and Eamonn Ferguson in the School of Psychology.
Reinforcement sensitivity and psychoticism
With my doctoral student, Nadja Heym, I am looking at the relationship between psychoticism and appetitive and inhibition sensitivity. Using a combination of psychometric and experimental studies, we are examining the impact of psychoticism on empathy, perspective taking, physiological arousal (skin conductance, facial EMG, HR) and memory.
Aggression and group processes Why do we sometimes blame victims of violence? I am examining the extent to which group members are more negative towards a victim when they are an in-group - as opposed to an out-group member (Lawrence & Leather, 2003; Lawrence & Green, 2005). I have studied this so-called "black sheep effect", in various groups, including licensees, teachers, parents and pupils.
Aggression and stereotypes
I examined (with Kate Threapleton) the extent to which the activation of aggressive stereotypes or other aggressive primes influence the way in which we attend to, encode and remember related information using dot-probe tasks, identification of subliminal stimuli and dual task methodologies. In addition, I have examined the role of stereotype inconsistent information on the memory for aggression related material (Lawrence and Leather, 1999).
Prison crowding and perceived aggression
I have also examined the impact on crowding in prison environments on the perception of aggressive incidents and general well-being (Lawrence & Andrews, 2004). This is the first work to demonstrate the influence of perceived crowding on the interpretation of an aggressive episode - suggesting a cognitive as well as an arousal route between crowding and aggression.
Environmental influences on perceived aggression
The role of environmental incivilities on the fear of crime has been established. In the work I have conducted to date, this research has been extended to demonstrate that in poorly maintained environments, aggression is perceived and understood differently (Lawrence & Leather, 2003; Leather & Lawrence, 1999, Lawrence & Green, 2005).
Car type and responsibility for accidents
I have recently examined the way in which responsibility judgements following road traffic accidents are made as a function of (amongst other dimensions) car type. (Lawrence & Richardson, 2005).
I will be examining the role of individual sensitivities to aggressive triggers and perceptions and memory for aggressive and ambiguous events and behaviour.
In addition, I plan to examine the role of frustration sensitivity on impulsive behaviour in offender groups.