Television station CW33 quoted SMU Psychology Professor Alan S. Brown for his latest research that found corporal punishment is viewed as more acceptable and effective when it’s referred to as spanking.
Brown’s new study found that parents and nonparents alike feel better about corporal punishment when it’s called spanking rather than hitting or beating.
Study participants judged identical acts of a child’s misbehavior and the corporal punishment that followed it, but rated the discipline as better or worse simply depending on the verb used to describe it.
The article, “Spanking Sounds OK, Hitting Not So Much, SMU Study Says,” published Jan. 4, 2017.
Brown was lead author on the research, conducted with SMU psychologist George W. Holden, a noted expert on parenting, discipline and family violence and a professor in the SMU Department of Psychology.
Brown’s research primarily involves how people store and retrieve information about the real world, and the manner in which those processes fail us, such as tip of the tongue experience, where one is momentarily stymied in accessing well-stored knowledge.
He also explores the prevalence of other varieties of spontaneous familiarity, related to déjà vu, and whether there are changes across the age span. Finally, there are several research projects on how people incorporate other’s life experiences into their own autobiography.
Holden is noted for his expertise on spanking. He strongly advocates against corporal punishment and cites overwhelming research, including his own, that has demonstrated that spanking is not only ineffective, but also harmful to children, and many times leads to child abuse.
Holden is a founding member of the U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children, endhittingusa.org.
By Eric Gonzales
So how does the word spanking hit you?
A new study by Southern Methodist University bets there are no hard feelings when it comes to getting spanked.
Psychology Professor Alan Brown says the word spank sounds more acceptable to people than saying a kid is getting a slap, a hit or a beating as punishment.
Even though hitting or slapping as punishment may be the same as a spanking, the professor says spanking sounds less harsh.
But parents say it may depend on where you’re spanked. “We got our butts spanked, our butts, not out backs, not our legs,” said Renee Hudspeth. “Even if we did get hit on the arm or the leg, it`s because we were trying to run from our parents.”
The professor says even swatting a kid sounds better than other words for corporal punishment, like beating.
Of course, some people say it’s never okay to hit a child. But a lot of parents believe spanking isn`t behind them.