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Confronting Hegemonic Ideas Speaker Series - Speaker six: Dr. Benjamin Bellet
Trigger Warnings: Controversies and Conclusions

Trigger warnings are used to warn people that forthcoming content may cause them distress or harm. The use of trigger warnings has been at the center of a fervid debate in academia and contemporary culture more broadly. Advocates for trigger warnings emphasize the importance of providing accommodations for vulnerable students, and especially those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Detractors of trigger warnings cite concerns about constraints on academic freedom and bringing about psychological fragility in students. However, until recently, no empirical work had yet been done to determine whether trigger warnings actually “help” or do indeed “harm.” In will present the research that my colleagues and I have conducted on the psychological effects of trigger warnings, as well as the state of the current literature on trigger warnings more broadly. Overall, it is likely that trigger warnings are inert – neither markedly harmful nor helpful – although some concerning effects on anxiety and self-concept have been observed. Clinical and policy implications arising from this research will be discussed.

Jun 2, 2022 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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