School Violence and Bullying: Measuring Individual and Contextual Variables
Understanding extreme harm-doing in a school setting presents the researcher with complex measurement issues. For instance, we will want to examine the difference between individual cognitive processes (cognitive dissonance, belief in a just world), psychological profiles (the Big 5 or HEXACO) and psychopathology (narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) on the one hand, and group processes (social identity theory) on the other hand. Further confusion comes from problems in differentiating between general violence and bullying, as the requirements for bullying are quite restrictive (repetitive and an aggressor-victim dynamic) and difficult to calibrate using only positivistic methods. How can we reconcile individual and group variables while also examining the behavior of the individual in a group as well as the behavior of the group? In this talk I will discuss all these issues and focus on different types of aggression as well as age and gender differences.
Thomas Gumpel is the chair of the department of special education and director of undergraduate education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a member of the department of developmental psychology and peace studies at Åbo Akademi in Finland. His research focuses on two major topics. He is primarily interested in extreme aggression and victimhood in the schools and why individuals are able to witness extreme harmdoing and actively or passively participate in these events; using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies he is interesting in understanding evil. A second branch of research looks at differences in educational expenditures for children with special educational needs in West Jerusalem (Israel) and East Jerusalem (occupied) and works closely with with human rights organizations working to guarantee equal educational access for children living under occupation.