Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences David Geary’s research focuses on sex differences and sex-specific vulnerabilities. For example, prenatal exposure to toxins and other stressors can affect girls differently than boys, or vice versa. He says his research led him to develop a model about general biological differences and sensitivity to environmental and social stressors that focused on mitochondria—little organelles inside cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or cellular energy.
Anyone who has seen an episode of Law & Order knows that if the defense attorney can successfully portray his client as a victim, jurors may be less inclined to assign blame to the defendant or may reduce the severity of the defendant’s punishment. Research confirms this is more than just a television trope—casting the perpetrator of a transgression as a victim tends to make them seem less blameworthy.