12. The Causes of Male Violence, Including Sexual Violence, do not Include Video Games, Porn or Female Empowerment

Donald Trump isn’t to blame for America’s mass shootings

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Column for the Spectator about how it’s wrong to blame Trump for mass shootings such as the one in El Paso. Published on 10th August 2019.

The BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme wasn’t in any doubt about who to blame for America’s latest bout of mass shootings. Newsnight’s report began with footage of Donald Trump addressing the faithful at a rally. ‘This is an invasion,’ he warned, referring to the refugees massing on the Mexican border. ‘When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that’s an invasion.’ It then cut to Emily Maitlis in the studio. ‘That was in May,’ she said. ‘Today, Donald Trump called on Americans to condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.’ She added that the President had made these remarks ‘with a straight face’ and ‘with autocue precision’ — completely insincere, in other words – and then pointed out that he had not suggested any new measures for gun control. She concluded: ‘So how much should we align presidential words and terrorist acts?

How should America react to a man many blame for amplifying extremism in the first place?’

Those are good questions and it’s a pity Newsnight didn’t take them seriously. There are plenty of reasons not to blame Trump for last weekend’s slaughter. For one thing, the El Paso gunman railed against climate change alongside Hispanic immigration in the manifesto he published before murdering 22 people, and the President is a climate change sceptic, as liberals never tire of pointing out. For another, the Dayton shooter, who murdered nine, was a self-described ‘leftist’ who praised Elizabeth Warren and Antifa, the far-left protest group. Incidentally, the terrorist who charged an ICE detention centre with homemade bombs and a rifle last month was a member of Antifa and referred to his target as a ‘concentration camp’, echoing the words of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Congresswoman. Yet Newsnight didn’t ask whether the ‘inflammatory rhetoric’ of Warren or Ocasio-Cortez ‘inspired’ these nutjobs. No, it bought into the line peddled by Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke — and countless others — that all mass killings that have taken place on Trump’s watch have been by ‘white supremacists’.

O’Rourke described Trump as ‘stoking racism’ and claimed there’d been a rise in hate crimes in every year of his presidency. We hear similar claims about the effect of the Leave victory in the EU referendum, but hate crime data is notoriously unreliable. O’Rourke is referring to the number of reported hate crimes, which isn’t a robust measure because various American agencies have spent millions encouraging people to report hate crimes and making it easier to do so. To see whether the overall level has increased you need to look at whether unreported hate crimes have gone up or down in the same period. That exercise was carried out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2018 which found that while reported hate crimes increased from 104,400 to 107,900 between 2016 and 2017, unreported hate crimes fell from 92,100 to 86,900, meaning the total number actually fell in the first year of Trump’s presidency.

If you look at the past ten years, the total level of hate crime is declining in the US, as is the amount of racism and anti-immigration sentiment, and Trump’s victory has done nothing to reverse that. Sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania published a study this year showing that Americans have become less inclined to express racist views since 2016, something true of Republican voters as well as Democrats, and a Gallup poll in June 2019 found 76 per cent of Americans believe immigration is a good thing, the highest number to date. The same trends are visible in the UK: the population has become less racist and more pro-immigration since the Brexit vote. The liberal narrative about the toxic effect of the rise of far-right populism turns out to be nonsense.

It’s incredibly hard to show that inflammatory rhetoric, whether on the right or the left, causes violent crime. All we know for sure is that violent crime across the world is declining, something painstakingly documented by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature. For various reasons, most people have difficulty believing that and seize on incidents like those of last weekend as ‘proof’ that we’re living in an increasingly murderous age. That’s particularly true of left-wing pundits and politicians, who really should know better, given their elite educations. Trump may be a coarse, mean-spirited figure, but he’s not responsible for these tragedies.

The New Zealand Massacre Wasn’t Caused by Toxic Masculinity

Blog post for CapX about the murder of 49 Muslims in New Zealand that was published on 18th March 2019.

Shortly after news broke of the New Zealand massacre last week, Sophie Walker, the founder of the Women’s Equality Party, decided she knew what had caused this tragedy:

I was scheduled to debate Walker on Good Morning Britain this morning about whether it was right to link the terrible events of last week to “male violence”, but she refused to take part when she heard I had been booked and the producers cancelled it rather than pander to her by finding a more agreeable opponent. Had it gone ahead, I would have made three points.

First, I would have expressed my disappointed that the founder of a political party and a major public figure had exploited this tragedy to promote their partisan agenda, just as the Australian Senator Fraser Anning did when he tried to blame the massacre on Muslim immigration. I’ve been shocked by the speed with which scores of political activists on all sides have jumped on this massacre in an attempt to discredit their opponents. Among those people and causes who’ve been saddled with responsibility since last Friday are Boris Johnson, Rod Liddle, Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, Katie Hopkins, Suzanne Evans, Rupert Murdoch, the Daily Mail, the Times, Brexit, Donald Trump, Chelsea Clinton, white people and, of course, the entire male gender. It shouldn’t need saying, but the responsibility for the 49 murders lies with the man who carried them out: Brenton Tarrant. Incidentally, he said that one of his aims was to polarise political debate and set people at each other’s throats. By exploiting this tragedy to demonise men, Sophie Walker is doing exactly what he wants.

Second, her analysis is at odds with the facts about male violence. Like many feminist commentators on last week’s events, Walker attributes Tarrant’s actions, and male violence more generally, to the inability of some men to cope with increasing gender equality. According to her, men like Tarrant feel “emasculated” by the “sexual and reproductive and economic freedom of women”. She takes it for granted that male violence, particularly violence against women, is increasing – she calls it an “epidemic” – and that’s exactly what you’d expect if there was a positive correlation between mass shootings like the one that took place in Christchurch last week and female empowerment.

In fact, every permutation of male violence, particularly violence against women, has declined dramatically since women’s rights began to be enshrined in law at scale across the developed world about 70 years ago. As Steven Pinker documents in The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011) the annual rate of rape declined by 80 per cent in the U.S. between 1973 and 2008. And that statistic probably masks the real decline since women have become more likely to report rapes in the past 60 years or so. In the UK, the number of people charged with rape fell to its lowest level in 10 years in 2017-18, with a 23.1 per cent decline in the number of suspects being investigated for rape since 2016-17. It’s a similar story for rates of domestic violence in America and Britain. Protecting women from male violence has been one of the great victories of the feminist movement and, at the risk of being accused of mansplaining to the founder of the Women’s Equality Party, I think Walker is doing the architects of that movement a disservice by not acknowledging this. Apart from everything else, Walker’s analysis is completely incoherent. Women cannot be more vulnerable than they’ve ever been before and, at the same time, more empowered. Either the legal protection of women’s rights has increased or male violence against women has increased. It’s not possible for both to have risen or – to add to the incoherece – for the former increase to have caused the latter.

The third point I would have made is that it’s glib and superficial to attribute the tragedy in Christchurch to “male violence”, as though masculinity is the toxic ideology responsible for the deaths of those 49 people, not the extremist, racist ideology of Brenton Tarrant. Far from men in general being responsible for mass shootings, terrorism, violent assault, etc., it is men, for the most part, who protect the innocent from harm. We saw this during the terrible events of last week, when some men threw themselves between the hail of bullets and their children, while several others risked their lives to stop the attack.

Across the world, most police officers are men, most firefighters are men, most paramedics are men, most members of the security services and the armed forces are men. These are the people who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us from maniacs like Brenton Tarrant. Instead of trying to tar all men as being cut from the same cloth as this racist killer, why can’t Sophie Walker just give heartfelt thanks to those brave men who risk their lives every day to keep us safe, including her?

Apologies if this comes across as a bit too strident. But I’m sick of the way so many people have used this tragedy as an excuse to smear their political opponents, whether on the Right or the Left. As the Prime Minister of New Zealand said, let’s come together and recognise our common humanity and not dance to Brenton Tarrant’s tune by letting his appalling actions divide us even further.

Video games like Fortnite are fun – so they must be bad

Column I wrote for the Spectator in defence of Fortnite that was published on 14th July 2018.

It was only a matter of time. The headteacher of a primary school in Ilfracombe in Devon has banned ‘Flossing’, the dance craze linked to the video game Fortnite, on the grounds that it’s being used to ‘intimidate’ other children. ‘Fortnite is about mass killing of other human beings and being rewarded by a dance of celebration if you are successful,’ she told the Telegraph.

This is the latest example of the moral panic surrounding Fortnite, a video game in which up to 100 players compete against each other, either individually or in ‘squads’, to see who can be the last man standing. So far this year, the National Crime Agency has warned that it is putting children at risk from online paedophiles, Matt Hancock has condemned it for ‘damaging’ children’s lives and the Daily Mailran a story about it under the following headline: ‘Girl, nine, is in rehab after becoming so addicted to Fortnite video game she “wet herself to continue playing and hit her father in the face when he tried to take away her Xbox’’.’

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The panic shows no signs of subsiding. Fortnite was released by a US company called Epic Games last July, but only took off when Epic released a free-to-play version called Battle Royale. It now has 40 million players worldwide and that number looks set to grow, thanks in part to the World Cup. Dele Alli, the Tottenham midfielder now in the England team, busted out a Fortnite dance when he scored England’s second goal against Sweden last Saturday — in this case ‘Feed The Pony’ rather than ‘Flossing’. When Antoine Griezmann scored the opening goal for France against Argentina he celebrated by making an ‘L’ shape with his thumb and forefinger, grabbing his crotch and hopping from one foot to the other, a Fortnite dance known as ‘Take The L’. Expect to see similar celebrations at Sunday’s final.

There are other aspects of the game that could prove equally problematic once the mainstream media cottons on to them. My 13-year-old son — who’s been known to spend 12 hours a day playing it — sometimes chooses a female avatar, which could conceivably be objected to by trans exclusionary radical feminists, although there are no lavatories or changing rooms in the Fortnite ‘sandbox’ so I can’t see how he’d take advantage of this to enter any female-only spaces. Then again, the fact that gender reassignment is achievable at the click of a button might be singled out by conservative evangelicals as a reason to ban the game. More controversially, you can choose an African–American avatar and, to amp things up even further, the avatars are referred to within the game as ‘skins’. In effect, tens of millions of ‘privileged’ white males, mainly in Britain and America, are ‘blacking up’ on a daily basis to prepare themselves for mortal combat. I’m not sure whether that falls under the heading of ‘cultural appropriation’ or ‘racial profiling’, but it must be some kind of sin in the eyes of the identitarian left. David Lammy take note. This could be an even better vehicle for self–promotion than complaining about nonexistent racial bias in Oxford admissions.

Or maybe not. Critics of games like Fortnite imagine that the brains of adolescents and young adults are profoundly affected by exposure to ‘inappropriate’ content, whether violence or pornography, but there isn’t much evidence for that. The most important personality traits are between 40 and 60 per cent heritable and insofar as the environment has an effect on people’s behaviour it is generally in ways which aren’t obvious. A study in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2009 found that people are less likely to commit violent crime after being exposed to violent media content, not more. Using data from America’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, the researchers discovered that on weekends when violent blockbusters are released, the number of violent crimes falls. They hypothesised that the reason for this is because people with violent dispositions cannot get up to mischief — or not much, anyway — while sitting in cinemas, and are less likely to engage in violent activities afterwards because they haven’t consumed alcohol. The researchers concluded: ‘Our estimate suggests that in the short run, violent movies deter almost 1,000 assaults on an average weekend.’

So all power to the Fortnite fad. It has brought a lot of harmless pleasure to millions and will continue to do so.

Is there a link between sexual imagery and violence against women?

Blog post I wrote for the Telegraph that was published on 26th February 2010.

Today’s Home Office report on the sexualisation of children feels like a bit of cheap electioneering rather than a serious piece of research. The report, by Dr Linda Papadopoulos, claims to have established that there’s a “clear link” between sexual imagery and violence against women and makes a number of proposals, including selling mobile phones and games consoles with parental controls switched on, stopping the sale of lad mags to under-16s and banning sexualised imagery in adverts.

The report doesn’t make the case for these proposals on moral grounds, but for reasons of public safety and, in particular, the safety of women. Here’s the key passage:

The evidence gathered in the review suggests a clear link between consumption of sexualised images, tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviour as the norm.

Both the images we consume and the way we consume them are lending credence to the idea that women are there to be used and that men are there to use them.

We’ve heard about this “clear link” before and it would be quite something if Dr Linda Papadopoulos had managed to establish it since no one else has. Suppose a “clear link” did exist between sexual imagery and violence towards women. You’d expect the latter to have increased in direct proportion to the prevalence of former, right? And no one would dispute that sexual imagery is more prevalent now than it was in, say, 1997, not least because access to the Internet has increased exponentially since then.

But according to Harriet Harman, the Minister for Women, incidents of domestic violence fell between 64 per cent between 1997 and 2009. These figures aren’t just for reported crimes, either. They come from the British Crime Survey, which includes crimes not reported to the police. According to the British Crime Survey for 2008/09, the number of domestic violence incidents has more than halved.

Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that the current levels of domestic violence are acceptable. In 2008/09, domestic violence accounted for nearly one in three (31 per cent) incidents of violence against women, equivalent to approximately 226,000 separate acts. That is an appalling statistic and, clearly, a problem we ought to be tackling. All I’m saying is that there is absolutely no proof that there is a link between domestic violence and the prevalence of sexual imagery.

What about rape? Admittedly, that has increased. According to the British Crime Survey for 2007/08, there were 6,281 recorded instances of “Rape of a female” in 1997, compared to 11,648 in 2007/08. However, this jump is largely explained by the replacement of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which broadened the definition of “rape” to include penetration of the mouth. I’m not saying that “rape” shouldn’t have been redefined in this way, only that it is this redefinition that accounts for the increase between 1997 and 2007/08. And, incidentally, between 2006/07 and 2007/08 the number of  rapes of women declined by 8 per cent.

Nevertheless, according to Dr Linda Papadopoulos there is a “clear link”. So who is this brilliant social scientist who has made this discovery? According to the preamble to the Home Office report, she “is one of the most well-known and respect psychologists working in the UK.” I can’t argue with the “well-known” part because Dr Papadopoulos is the resident psychologist on Big Brother, the Channel 4 reality show. Indeed, she is so “respected” by the producers of reality shows that she also appeared on Celebrity Fit Club and My Big Breasts and Me. In case you’re not convinced by these “credentials”, let’s not forget that she has also appeared on Celebrity Mastermind (special subject: the band Nirvana).

So what proof does Dr Papadopoulos offer of this “clear link”? I’ve drilled down into her Home Office report and, in fact, it offers no proof whatsoever. For instance, here’s a passage from Chapter Six (‘The Impact of Sexualisation’):

The sexualisation of women – and, more widely, the pornification of culture – can put pressure on boys to act out a version of masculinity based on the display of power over women.  … [snip] … Given this, it is perhaps not too much of a leap to posit a link between the messages being sent out to boys and the normalisation of aggressive – or even violent behaviour – towards girls and women …

Here’s another passage from the introduction to Chapter Seven (‘Sexualisation and Violence’):

Sexual abuse and sexual violence are, thankfully, at the extreme end of the spectrum of impacts of sexualisation. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we acknowledge the very real possibility that, say, pornography that shows girls talking with relish about pre-teen sexual exploits, or highly realistic video games where players take on the role of stalker and rapist might start to blur the boundaries between what is acceptable and what is not.

The sexualisation of women can put pressure on boys … it is perhaps not too much of a leap to posit … the very real possibility that … This isn’t the language of a social scientist, but of a journalist — and a fairly sloppy one at that. It’s pure conjecture. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to find in Cosmopolitan — which isn’t surprising since Dr Papadopoulos writes for Cosmopolitan. She’s entitled to her opinion, of course, but that’s all it is — opinion. There’s no factual evidence in the report that sexual imagery causes violence against women.

On the basis of what is, in effect, a 100-page Cosmopolitan article, Dr Papadopoulus makes 32 recommendations, including banning job centres from advertising jobs in lapdancing clubs, forcing magazines to indicate where photographs have been air-brushed and outlawing inappropriate music videos before the 9pm watershed. The most pernicious of these proposals involve changes to the national curriculum. For instance, it is proposed that Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, Sex and Relationships education and Digital Literacy education are all made compulsory. Please, God, no.

The most revealing recommendation made by Dr Papadopoulos is the following:

Funding be made available for research that will strengthen the evidence base. There is a particular need for longitudinal research; research into the impact of sexualisation on black and minority ethnic groups, gay and lesbian groups and disabled populations; and carefully designed ethical research into the impact on child populations.

In other words, let’s commission some research to demonstrate the “clear link” that I have palpably failed to demonstrate in this 100-page document.

This report is a not a serious investigation into the causes of violence against women. Rather, it posits a link between that violence and various things that Dr Popadopoulus disapproves of — such as lad mags and airbrushed photographs — in a spurious attempt to either ban them or regulate them on grounds of public safety.

I’m not suggesting that violence against women isn’t a serious problem. But there is no evidence that the measures proposed in this report will have any impact on it — zilch, nada, bupkis. It’s a vote grabber and not a serious attempt to tackle the issue.

Links

Real Violence Versus Imaginary Guns: Why Reframing the Debate on Video Game Violence is Necessary‘, Christopher Fergusson, 2019

Moral panics, then and now‘ by Barrett Wilson, Quillette, 8th August 2018

Two Researchers Challenged a Scientific Study About Violent Video Games – and Took a Hit for Being Right‘, Motherboard, 25th July 2018

Meet two data sleuths who paid a steep price for raising concerns about a problematic paper‘, Retraction Watch, 25th July 2018

Beware root causes‘ by Andrew Glover, Quillette, 25th June 2018

Does Activism in Social Science Explain Conservatives’ Distrust of Scientists?‘, N. Cofnas, N. Carl, M.A. Woodley, American Sociologist, 19th July 2017

Abstract

Data from the General Social Survey suggest that conservatives have be-come less trustful of scientists since the 1970s. Gauchat argues that this is because conservatives increasingly see scientific findings as threatening to their worldview. However, the General Social Survey data concern trust in scientists, not in science. We suggest that conservatives’ diminishing trust in scientists reflects the fact that scientists in certain fields, particularly social science, have increasingly adopted a liberal-activiststance, seeking to influence public policy in a liberal direction.

Extract

Thousands of Studies Support the Liberal Theory of Aggression? A tenet of liberalism is that violence is a learned behavior. A favorite culprit is themedia—people learn to be violent from seeing violence on television and in movies andplaying violent video games.In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) testified to Congress thatBmore than 3500 studies have investigated the link between exposure to mediaviolence and actual violent behaviour. All but 18 have shown a positive correlation. To make the point dramatically, it asserted that the strength of the correlation is larger than that of condom non-use and sexually transmitted HIV, lead exposure and lower I.Q., passive tobacco smoke and lung cancer or calcium intake and bone mass,relationships which pediatricians accept as fact…(American Academy of Pediatrics2000).

Also in 2000, six scientific and medical organizations—the AAP, the AmericanAcademy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Psychiatric Association—presented a joint statement to Congress on the link between exposure to media violence and aggression in children. According to the statement, well over 1000 studies have led the public health community [to conclude] that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children. Its effects are measurable and long-lasting (American Academy of Pediatrics et al. 2000).

It seems fair to say that these major scientific organizations have put their credibility on the line over this issue. The link is as great as that between lead exposure and lower IQ, or second-hand smo ke and cancer? Over 1000—maybe even 3500— studies support a single conclusion, which is not contradicted by a single study worth men-tioning? Well, it turns out that these organizations never conducted reviews of the literature about which they were testifying. A bit of investigation would have revealed an important fact: There were not 1000 studies—let alone more than 3500—investigating the relationship between exposure to media violence and aggression. It is simply false. In an extensive review of the literature, Freedman (2002) found around 200 studies that address the link (see Freedman 2002:13). Of these studies, more than half report findings that are inconsistent with there being a causal link. Of those whose findings are not inconsistent, there are other explanations for the results besides the causal hypothesis. In many cases, researchers interpreted a transient increase in general arousal from watching exciting (violent) films as elevated aggression. The ways in which aggression is measured (e.g., hitting a Bobo doll, asking a child Bwhether he would pop a balloon if one were present) are often questionable for a number of reasons.

Australians are being told that gender inequality is the root cause of domestic violence. But is it?‘ by Gay Alcorn, The Guardian, 18th February 2016

‘Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When‘, C.J. Ferguson, Journal of Communication, 2015

Abstract

This article presents 2 studies of the association of media violence rates with societal violence rates. In the first study, movie violence and homicide rates are examined across the 20th century and into the 21st (1920–2005). Throughout the mid‐20th century small‐to‐moderate correlational relationships can be observed between movie violence and homicide rates in the United States. This trend reversed in the early and latter 20th century, with movie violence rates inversely related to homicide rates. In the second study, videogame violence consumption is examined against youth violence rates in the previous 2 decades. Videogame consumption is associated with a decline in youth violence rates. Results suggest that societal consumption of media violence is not predictive of increased societal violence rates.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimisation by Sexual Orientation, M. Walters, J. Chen, M. Breiding, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2013

How useful are indices of personality pathology when assessing domestic violence perpetrators?‘, P. Gibbons, M. Collins, C. Reid, Psychological Assessment, 23rd March 2011

Abstract

There has been considerable debate about profiling personality pathology when assessing and treating male perpetrators of domestic violence (DV). This study used the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-III) to explore the severity and diversity of male perpetrator personality pathology and response bias in a group of DV perpetrators being assessed for a treatment program (N = 177). We analyzed the sample using the interpretive guidelines of White and Gondolf (2000); 54% of profiles in our sample fell into categories indicative of a personality disorder, and 37% of the total sample provided profiles indicative of severe personality pathology. These percentages were higher than White and Gondolf’s findings but lower than some others. There was considerable diversity of personality pathology as well, supporting the contention that there is no one male DV perpetrator profile. Because of debate concerning the manner of responding on self-report instruments, we paid special attention to response biases in our sample. Twenty-six percent of our sample exaggerated (12%) or minimized (14%) their responses. We also found that response biases on the MCMI-III Modifying Indices were related to self-reported severity of psychopathology. This suggests that assessing severity of psychopathology is inadequate without reference to such biases.

Does movie violence increase violent crime?’, G. Dahl, S. DellaVigna, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2009

Abstract

Laboratory experiments in psychology find that media violence increases ag- gression in the short run. We analyze whether media violence affects violent crime in the field. We exploit variation in the violence of blockbuster movies from 1995 to 2004, and study the effect on same-day assaults. We find that violent crimedecreases on days with larger theater audiences for violent movies. The effect is partly due to voluntary incapacitation: between 6 P.M. and 12 A.M., a one mil- lion increase in the audience for violent movies reduces violent crime by 1.1% to 1.3%. After exposure to the movie, between 12 A.M. and 6 A.M., violent crime is reduced by an even larger percent. This finding is explained by the self-selection of violent individuals into violent movie attendance, leading to a substitution away from more volatile activities. In particular, movie attendance appears to reduce alcohol consumption. The results emphasize that media exposure affects behavior not only via content, but also because it changes time spent in alterna- tive activities. The substitution away from more dangerous activities in the field can explain the differences with the laboratory findings. Our estimates suggest that in the short run, violent movies deter almost 1,000 assaults on an aver- age weekend. Although our design does not allow us to estimate long-run ef- fects, we find no evidence of medium-run effects up to three weeks after initial exposure.

Impulsivity and verbal deficits associated with domestic violence‘, R.A. Cohen, et al, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Association, 2003

Abstract

While neurobiological factors are known to play a role in human aggression, relatively few studies have examined neuropsychological contributions to propensity for violence. We previously demonstrated cognitive deficits among men who committed domestic violence (batterers) compared to non-violent controls. Batterers had deficits in verbal ability, learning and executive problem-solving ability. These findings led us to examine whether executive control problems involving impulsivity contribute to problems with behavioral control among batterers, and to further examine their deficits in verbal functioning. Batterers (n = 41) enrolled in a domestic violence program were compared to 20 non-violent men of similar age, education, and socioeconomic background on neuropsychological tests of executive functioning, including impulsivity. Questionnaires and structured clinical interviews were used to assess emotional distress, aggression and self-reported impulsivity. Batterers showed greater impulsivity compared to non-batterers on several neuropsychological measures. Yet, the severity of these deficits was relatively mild and not evident in all batterers. Consistent with our previous findings, significant verbal deficits were again observed among the batterers. These findings suggest that while impulsivity may be a factor associated with domestic violence, it probably is not the sole determinant of the strong relationship between cognitive functioning and batterer status that we previously observed. Both verbal expressive deficits and behavioral impulsivity appear to be relevant variables in predisposing men to domestic violence.