Though I do not agree with it, tattoos always seem to get the short end of the stick along with the people who have them. Parents never want their children to get tattoos because they are often scared it will change them, by making them more rebellious. Employers are scared to hire people with tattoos because for some unknown reason they might not be as trustworthy as the other applicant that does not have tattoos. Is there any truth to this at all though? Are people with tattoos really more rebellious or untrustworthy? Or do they just have a bad stereotype and it is all in our minds?
Viren Swami, a professor of psychology at University of Westminster, conducted an experiment in which he sought to find truth, if there was any, in whether people with tattoos are more aggressive than people without tattoos. He surveyed a group of 378 adults from London to get information about their aggression levels and rebellious nature. Out of 378 people, 25.7% of them had a tattoo, so only about a quarter which seems like kind of small sample size. The null hypothesis would be that tattoos do not have any correlation with aggression or rebelliousness, nothing is going on. The alternative hypothesis would be that tattoos do have a part in peoples aggression and rebellion. The results of Swami’s experiment were interesting. Adults with tattoos showed higher levels of reactive aggression and rebellion than those with no tattoos. However, when it came to proactive anger and rebellion, there did not seem to be a huge difference between the groups. So according to this study, those with tattoos may be quicker to react more aggressively in certain situations but not be proactive with their aggression.
So if people with tattoos are more likely to have higher aggression levels, is it the tattoos that are causing that? Or, are people who are more naturally aggressive and rebellious more likely to get tattoos? A third variable might also be responsible such as past life events. Finally, it might just be due to chance. However, I don’t believe that this study had a big enough sample size to conclude any solid information. I’m not sure surveying people always brings out the most honest answers too, but there might not have been a better way to gather the information. This study also didn’t take into account the reasoning behind why people got the tattoos. That could also affect the outcome. I wonder if the size or shape of the tattoo might affect this study. The bigger the tattoo, the more aggressive?
Another similar study was done at the University of Cincinnati by Keith King. King was studying if college students with tattoos were more likely to be involved with risky behaviors, such as drugs, than students without tattoos. Almost 30% of the 988 students that were surveyed had a tattoo. He found that those with tattoos were more likely to be linked with risky behavior. Again, it is possible the risky behavior was causing the tattoos, this study couldn’t say for sure.
Despite all of this information that I just talked about, I don’t think it’s okay to judge anybody on whether they have tattoos or not. People that don’t have tattoos get angry and do drugs too, it’s not a one and done deal. I think tattoos can be very beautiful and usually have incredible stories attached to them. I would need to see several other studies saying the same thing to believe this. I don’t think these studies should discourage employers from giving jobs to people with tattoos. Everyone is different and it’s important that we get to know one another on the inside, not just the outside.