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Impatient, risk-takers more likely to ‘be violent’ on nights-out

23 June 2010

Impatient, risk-takers are more likely to commit acts of gratuitous violence on a weekend night-out, a Cardiff University study has found.

Researchers from Cardiff University investigating night-time street offending found that those on the street and prone to violence were more impatient and less risk-averse than the average person surveyed.

Violence-prone individuals also believed the chance of a violent offender being convicted was lower than the non-violent majority thought. Their estimate of the likely fine for violent behaviour was lower as well.

Surprisingly, victims of violence shared the characteristics of the violence-prone of being less risk-averse and more impatient.

"Our results show that street violence originates in the choices of the perpetrators and their judgements about what they can get away with," said Professor Foreman-Peck from Cardiff University’s Business School, who jointly led the study, "What this study suggests is that if we can influence these choices, by making individuals less impatient or less inclined to gamble, or by altering their perceptions of the likelihood and severity of punishment, then we will reduce the amount of gratuitous street violence in the evenings" he added.

People were asked about their attitudes to time and to risk with a series of hypothetical choices. They were also asked if they had resorted to violence in the past 12 months.

The research was undertaken by Professor James Foreman-Peck of Cardiff Business School and Dr Simon Moore, of the University’s School of Dentistry and published in the June edition of the International Review of Law and Economics.

Dr Moore from Cardiff University’s Violence & Society Research Group, said: "Through understanding factors that influence violence we can begin to develop novel methods to reduce violence in our communities.

"Our work takes an established model into a high priority but difficult and hard to research area, street violence. Given the high levels of assault related injury in our A&E departments, and levels of re-offending in prisoners continues to remain above 70% our approach offers a refreshing alternative to the usual forensic psychology approach that really gets to the heart of the problem."

-Ends-

Notes:

Further information:

Professor James Foreman-Peck, Cardiff Business School, Telephone: 029 2087 6395, Mobile: 07947 031945, e-mail: foreman-peckj@Cardiff.ac.uk

Or

Dr Simon Moore, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Telephone: 029 2074 4246, Mobile: 0754 0825513, e-mail: mooresc2@cardiff.ac.uk

A copy of the full report is available by contacting:

Chris Jones, Public Relations, Cardiff University Telephone: 029 20 874731, e-mail: jonesc83@cardiff.ac.uk

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Visit the University website at: www.cardiff.ac.uk