Forgiveness, Altruism, & Aggression Research Program

Center faculty are currently involved in a variety of projects that explore predictors of altruism and aggression. The specific interests of the Center include the role of religious/spiritual experiences and practices in cultivating altruism and promoting helping behavior and the role of forgiveness in reducing risk of aggression. Additional projects include collaborative work with researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. These studies involve examining predictors of aggression in offenders incarcerated in the Indiana Department of Corrections. A related line of research examines college student drinking games as a situational context that may contribute to sexual assault.

Publications & Presentations on Forgiveness, Altruism, and/or Aggression

Kristeller, J., & Johnson, T. J. (2005). Cultivating Loving-Kindness: A Two-Stage Model for the Effects of Meditation on Compassion, Altruism and Spirituality, Zygon:  Journal of Religion & Science, 40, 391 - 407.

Johnson, T. J., & Stahl, C. (2004). Sexual experiences associated with drinking game participation. Journal of General Psychology, 131, 304-320.

Johnson, T. J., Kristeller, J., Sheets, V. L., & Shiber, N (2003, June). Fruits of the Spirit: Correlates of Altruism in College Students. Paper presented at the Conference Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Altruism, Philadelphia, PA.

Daugherty, D. A., Murphy, M. J., & Paugh, J. (2001). An examination of the Adlerian construct of social interest with criminal offenders. Journal of Counseling and Development, 79, 465-471.

Sarapata, M., Herrmann, D., Johnson, T., & Aycock, R. (1998). The role of head injury in cognitive functioning, emotional adjustment and criminal behavior. Brain Injury, 12, 821-842.

Bushman, B., Boxer, P., Johnson, T., Huesmann, R., O'Brien, M., & Moceri, D. (2008, July). 
Relation of young adult violent and criminal behavior to habitual exposure to violent media during childhood and adolescence.  Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression."

Marte, R.M., Johnson, T., Boxer, R., & Huesmann, L.R. (2008, June).  Personal and contextual correlates of violent media preferences and aggressive behaviors in adolescence.  Poster presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Society, Chicago, Illinois.

Boxer, P., Johnson, T., & Huesmann, L.R. (2007, November).  Violent Media Consumption and Violent Criminal Behavior in Young Adults.  Paper presented at the meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Atlanta, Georgia.

Halberda, R., Johnson, T.J., & Kaskutas, L.A. (2005, March).  Helping behavior, well-being, and alcohol use in college students.  Paper presented at the conference.  Addiction and Spirituality:  Scientific, Theological, & Clinical Perspectives.  Terre Haute, Indiana.

Dissertations on Forgiveness, Altruism and/or Aggression

Randy Halberda, Psy. D., (2005): Mixing Motives: The Relationship Between College Students’ Helping Behaviors and Alcohol Use. (Dissertation Advisor: Thomas J. Johnson, Ph.D.)

Springer, Kathryn A. (Psy.D., 2004). Social Interest and Psychopathy as Predictors of Criminal Offender Outcomes. (Dissertation Advisor: Michael Murphy, Ph.D.)

D’Ambrosio, Amy (Psy.D., 2004). The Relationship of Social Interest and Psychopathy. (Dissertation Advisor: Michael Murphy, Ph.D.)

James C. Peterson (Psy.D., 1999): The Relationship Between Homicidal Fantasies and Dangerousness. (Dissertation Advisor: Virgil, L. Sheets, Ph.D.)

Grants and Proposals on Forgiveness, Altruism, and/or Aggression

"Serious Youth Violence & Long-term Use of Violent Media"
PrincipaI Investigator: Rowell Huesmann, University of Michigan
Co-Investigators - Brad Bushman (University of Michigan); Paul Boxer (University of New Orleans); Craig Anderson (Iowa State University); Douglas Gentile (Iowa State University); Thomas J. Johnson (Indiana State University); Katherine Culotta (Indiana State University)
Agency: Centers for Disease Control
Status: Awarded 2004 (1-U49-CE000207-01)
Description: This series of studies involves examining exposure to violent media as a predictor of serious violence in several prospective and cross sectional samples, including: incarcerated juvenile delinquents, preschool and kindergarten students, high school seniors, incarcerated adults, and two normative groups of adults enrolled in long-term prospective longitudinal studies that began when the individuals were in middle childhood.

Under Review:
"Narcissism and the General Aggression Model"
Principal Investigator: Brad Bushman, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Co-Investigators: Thomas J. Johnson, Ph.D., Indiana State University; Katherine Culotta, Ph.D., Indiana State University; Jennifer, Boothby, Ph.D., Indiana State University;  Keith Campbell, Ph.D., University of Georgia.
Agency: NIH
Status: Under review
Description: Laboratory studies would be conducted at Iowa State and the University of Georgia. ISU’s involvement would be investigating religiousness, narcissistic personality traits, and the ability to forgive others as predictors of aggression or non-aggression in offenders entering the Indiana Department of Corrections.