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UCSB anthropologist examines the motivating factors behind hazing
Date:10/23/2013

protect veteran members from threats posed by newcomers. "It's almost as though the period of time around group entry was deeply problematic," he said. "This may have been a time during which coalitions were exploited by newcomers. Our intuitions about how to treat newcomers may reflect this regularity of the past. Abusing newcomers hazing may have served to temporarily alter their behavior, as well as select out uncommitted newcomers when membership was non-obligatory."

Cimino performed a study on a representative sample of the United States, in which participants imagined themselves as members of hypothetical organizations. Organizations that participants believed had numerous benefits for newcomers (e.g., status, protection) were also those that inspired more hazing. "In my research I've found that group benefits that could quickly accrue for newcomers automatic benefits predict people's desire to haze," he said.

"This isn't the only variable that matters there's some effect of age and sex, for example but the effect of automatic benefits suggests that potential vectors of group exploitation alter people's treatment of newcomers in predictable ways," Cimino continued.

He cautioned that scientists are a long way from understanding hazing completely. "Hazing is a complex phenomenon that has more than one cause, so it would be a mistake to believe that I have solved the puzzle. However, every study brings us a little closer to understanding a phenomenon that seems increasingly visible and important," he said.


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Contact: Andrea Estrada
andrea.estrada@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-4620
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert

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