As so often with the snowflake left, the cure is worse than the disease.  The law of unintended (but very obvious) consequences strikes again. 

All of us, by now, are familiar with “trigger warnings,”  admonitions about the “scary content” that is to come.  They are supposed to protect users from harmful content that may make pre-existing mental health issues worse.  However, social scientists Benjamin Bellet, Payton Jones, and Richard McNally now now posit these trigger warnings actually make things worse for people.  Why?  Because they increase “perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma, peoples’ belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable,” and the “anxiety to written material perceived as harmful.”

The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry  reported on their findings.

… the trio divided almost 300 subjects into two groups, one of which was given a trigger warning “before reading each of 10 passages from classic literature.” Half of those passages contained “explicit material” such as graphic depictions of killings.

The trigger warning group “proved far more likely to suggest passages containing distressful language would cause themselves and others emotional distress had they experienced trauma.”

“This finding could have significant implications in the context of ongoing cultural debates about the power of language in reinforcing perceived oppression,” social psychologist Craig Harper wrote.  “That is, if we are telling students that words are akin to violence and can cause harm, and then giving them trigger warnings to compound that message, we risk increasing immediate anxiety responses rather than decreasing them.”

Why is it that universities, which claim to be bastions of knowledge, are filled with such stupid professors and administrators? 

That’s the study that should be done.

Hat Tip: College Fix

Image Credit: Nicolas Raymond on Flickr

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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