Trigger warnings don’t work: Harvard Law School professors say warned survivors feel greater anxiety


The Harvard law professor said he encountered a warning that triggered academia and may in fact cause more pain and even cause the university to sue.

Jeannie Suk Gersen, who has taught at Massachusetts educational institutions since 2006, wrote his concerns in the New Yorker on Wednesday.

She said that Chinua Achebe’s original 1958 work “Things Collapse” and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were both seen as problematic.

Yet she has shown in recent studies that triggering warnings (warning students to put themselves into content that can bring back difficult memories) can actually increase trauma. I found it.

Jeannie Suk Gersen, who has taught at Harvard Law since 2006, wrote in New Yorkers on Wednesday that she felt trigger warnings were often unnecessary and could in fact be harmful.

Students are pictured in a classroom at Brandeis University.  Massachusetts agencies have not recommended the use of the word

Students are pictured in a classroom at Brandeis University. Massachusetts agencies did not recommend the use of the word “trigger warning” and instead suggested a “content note”

This is because the warning itself can immediately cause anxiety to people who may be “triggered” by the content.

Gersen also cited a growing number of studies showing that students who did not receive a trigger warning about the potential to disrupt research material were less affected than those who received it.

The scholar said she herself taught courses on the legal aspects of difficult topics such as sexual assault, divorce and suicide, but objected to issuing warnings from trigger.

“The presentation of my course touches on many of the most controversial and difficult issues in our society, which can have a personal impact on the lives of people in our class and on all discussions. It contains a statement that one should be done with respect, the other, ”she said.

“I do not collate my remarks to address triggers or point out specific readings or discussions.”

She pointed out that Brandeis University, a liberal arts institution in Massachusetts, released a “list of recommended languages” earlier this year. ‘Kill him’; “Picnic” is due to the fact that the “picnic” may be linked to a black lynching in the United States. Meanwhile, the white audience watched as they ate.

The university also said the term “trigger warning” should be avoided and the term “content note” should be used instead.

“A ‘warning’ can mean that something is imminent or guaranteed, which can put additional stress on the content in question.” Their website says.

“Additionally, we cannot guarantee that someone will not be triggered during a conversation or training. People’s triggers are very different.

“Content Notes allow you to convey the same message and share details about information and topics. That’s not to say it’s a full roster or that someone is definitely triggered.

Oberlin College, Ohio, introduced a trigger warning policy in 2014, but said it dropped it due to scientific concerns.

She found that the University of Michigan is one of the few universities that provides advice on trigger alerts.

“Warning triggers don’t appear to alleviate negative reactions to disturbing student material,” Gersen said in about 12 psychological studies from 2018 to 21.

She cited a study by three academics, Benjamin Bellett, who earned a doctorate from Harvard University this year. Candidate; PhD Peyton Jones 2021; Psychology professor Richard McNally said: “People who receive the trigger warning react more to disturbing literary sections than those who do not. Reported greater anxiety. “

The trio found that trigger warnings help reinforce the belief among trauma survivors that trauma is central to their identity rather than peripheral.

“McNally, Jones, and Bellett do not recommend the use of trigger warnings because there is no evidence that trigger warnings are helpful and can increase anxiety,” Gershen wrote.

As Jones said, “From a clinical standpoint, you should never do anything that doesn’t work for a while, even if it doesn’t hurt. If that doesn’t actively help. Encouraging its use will be primarily engaged in clinical pseudoscience. “

And she found that trigger warnings might just be a way for a teacher to show that they are caring and aware of social trends.

“Trigger alerts actually act as a signal to a subset of students who seek it that teachers are sensitive to concerns, or at least responding to their requests, regardless of psychological benefit or harm. It’s possible, ”she wrote.

“But with the understanding that imparting compassion to students and trauma survivors in this particular way, whether psychological or educational, can be a cross-purpose with helping them. It is important to do. ”

Legal expert Gersen said that as more evidence is issued, warnings can be more harmful than beneficial and universities can face liability issues if they continue to use them. Declared.

This could indicate that the student sued the teacher and was exposed to a trigger warning that proved to be distressing and potentially damaging to mental health.

Trigger warnings don’t work: Harvard Law School professors say warned survivors feel greater anxiety

Source Link Trigger Warnings Don’t Work: Harvard Law School Professors Say Pre-Warned Survivors Experience Greater Anxiety


Nancy I. Romero

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