Guryan Addresses Gun Violence in Sun-Times Essay

Guryan Addresses Gun Violence in Sun-Times Essay

Jonathan GuyranJonathan Guryan

Getting young people to slow down – to think before they act – can be a weapon in an anti-violence program, the School of Education and Social Policy’s Jonathan Guryan argued in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Guryan, associate professor of human development and social policy and economics, and Anuj Shah, associate professor of behavior science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, detail an exercise used in “Becoming a Man” (BAM), a behavioral therapy program offered in school.

“A counselor pairs up two young men, gives one of them a ball and tells him to make a fist around it. The counselor tells the other young man that he has one minute to do whatever it takes to get the ball from his partner. You can imagine the chaos that ensues as everyone tries to physically pry away the ball," they write. 

"Then the counselor asks a question that seems naive: How many people simply asked for the ball? No one raises their hand. Everyone insists his partner never would have given up the ball if asked.”

“The value of this exercise, of course, is that it demonstrates how often we get things wrong when we think too quickly, and how pausing to reflect might reveal other courses of action,” Guryan and Shah write.

Read the entire essay, “Silencing the Guns: Peace begins with getting youth to slow down.”

Guryan is the chair of the Huuman Development and Social Policy doctoral program in the School of Education and Social Policy, where faculty and students research how public policy affects human development and well-being, how research on human development across the life span informs policy, and how people affect policy. 

He also is faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research and the co-director and co-founder of the Urban Education Lab at the University of Chicago. Much of his research falls into two main categories: understanding the sources and consequences of racial inequality, and the economics of education.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 2/13/17