Social Work Researchers Make News for Groundbreaking Research and Technology to Combat Domestic Violence

Friday, Apr 01, 2016

Dr. Anne Nordberg, social work assistant professor and research associate of the Center for African American Studies, and Dr. Peter Lehmann, social work professor, represent an interdisciplinary partnership to combat domestic violence. The partnership is among the School of Social Work, the College of Engineering, the College of Education and the College of Science at UTA.

The research team will build a wireless, wearable device, which will be embedded into a hat that will identify brain signals related to anger. A person who is becoming angry will receive an alerting signal from their smart phone or watch to remind them to practice anger-management techniques learned in therapy sessions, and UTA's system will help create a systematic method for helping individuals control anger responses. 

The study contains a sample of 40 male student volunteers who will be examined to explore the electro cortical, electrical activity that take place in the cerebral cortex and cardiovascular systems during anger and happiness stimuli.

"We hope that this will lay the groundwork for follow-up studies in pursuit of a way to detect and alert people that they are about to become very angry," said Dr. Anne Nordberg.

Social work doctoral students and graduate research assistants, Anh Phuong Nguyen and Cecilia Mengo, were selected to assist with the study. The study has the potential to help individuals better understand human behavior as it relates to emotions, as well as develop recommendations and interventions for research, particularly intimate partner violence.

"Not only does this project and technology help offenders learn more about their own behavior when it comes to emotion, but it could help the people around them – their children, their spouses, their partners – potentially warning them," Nordberg said.

To read more about this groundbreaking interdisciplinary research and technology that will help combat domestic violence, visit the links below to KXAS NBC5 Online and