Brad J. Bushman

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Overview of research

I received my Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Missouri. I am a professor of communication at The Ohio State University (OSU), where I hold the Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication. Previously, I was a professor at Iowa State University (1990-2003) and at the University of Michigan (2003-2010). For over 30 years I have studied the causes, consequences, and solutions to the problem of human aggression and violence. In the wake of the Newtown shooting, I co-chaired an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation on youth violence. Our committee published a report on youth violence that was distributed to each member of Congress and to each state Governor. I testified before Congress on the contents of this report. An article that extends this report was published in American Psychologist. I was a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence. I also co-chaired a committee that wrote a report on youth violence for the International Society for Research on Aggression, which was distributed to President Trump, Vice President Pence, Education Secretary DeVos, each state Governor, and each member of Congress. My colleagues and I received an Ig Nobel prize (for research that first makes people laugh, then makes them think) for our research showing that that the “beer goggles” effect works both ways (drunk people not only think others are more attractive, but they also think they are more attractive) in 2013. I received the Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Media Psychology and Technology Award from the American Psychological Association for producing a “sustained body of work that has had a major impact on the public and the profession of media psychology and technology” in 2014. I received the Kurt Lewin Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues for “outstanding contributions to the development and integration of psychological research and social action” (jointly with Craig Anderson) in 2017. (The list of past winners of the Kurt Lewin Award is like a Who’s Who of social scientists, including a Nobel Prize winner — Gunnar Myrdal in 1952. My academic great-grandfather, Daniel Katz, won it in 1966.) I gave the G. Stanley Hall Lectureat the American Psychological Association meeting in 2018, which is “the premiere lecture delivered by teachers of psychology.” (The list of past lectures includes one by my academic father — Russell G. Geen in 1983.) I have published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, which have been cited over 50,000 times (ranked #2 among communication scholars). My research has challenged several myths (e.g., guns make people safer, venting anger reduces aggression, aggressive people suffer from low self-esteem, violence and sex sell products, media warning labels reduce audience size, exposure to violent media has a trivial effect on aggression, physical punishment is effective, the death penalty reduces violence). One of my colleagues even calls me the “myth buster.” My research has been repeatedly funded by federal grants (e.g., CDCNSFNIH), has been published in the top scientific journals (e.g., SciencePNAS, JAMA), and has been featured extensively in the mass media (e.g., BBCNPR, New York Times).