Domestic Violence: Belief, Bias, and Groupthink

In this video lecture, Dr. Donald Dutton talks about the subject of domestic violence and of how the associated field of research suffers from groupthink, belief perseverance, and biased assimilation of information. He examines, with several examples, this processing feature both in social science studies of domestic violence and in government responses to the problem. All bias exists in one direction and is not, therefore, simply random error. It exists in the direction of the “paradigm” of domestic violence (i.e., male = perpetrator, female= victim), which has its roots in Mackinnon’s Marxist notion of gender relations and, hence, associates maleness with oppression and domination and femaleness with victimhood. These broad associative complexes color all perceptions of intimate violence as being instrumental and dominating for males and self-defensive and acceptable for females. The numerous shortcomings of this view are discussed with examples.

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