BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Does locker room talk lead to dating violence? Does a racing heart or sweaty palms during a fight with a boyfriend or girlfriend increase a young person's risk of inflicting physical abuse? Dr. Lauren Shapiro, USC researcher and psychologist at Cognitive Behavior Associates (CBA) is focused on informing prevention and intervention efforts that would ultimately work to better understand and reduce risks of dating aggression. Becoming involved in dating relationships is a developmental milestone for adolescents and young adults. Patterns begin to emerge and are maintained within formative dating years. These recurring patterns can fall under both emotional and physical behavior and provide important contexts for the development of intimate relationship skills. Moreover, those who establish aggressive ways of relating to romantic partners are more likely to use the same aggressive interactional style during arguments with their children. Awarded a prestigious grant by the National Science Foundation funded through the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and working within the lab of renowned Dr. Gayla Margolin, Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at USC, Dr. Shapiro will research dating aggression in young adults from an interdisciplinary perspective. "When sound research informs prevention efforts, we can better target substantial societal problems," said Dr. Lauren Shapiro, researcher and psychologist at CBA. "It is important to understand how certain patterns of behavior within intimate relationships are established as well as how these behaviors are maintained over time. Young couples are setting the stage for relationships later in life, so developing our understanding of psychological, physiological, and social components of dating aggression can help us move toward reducing these harmful behaviors in young couples. Additionally, broadening our understanding of dating aggression can help us identify protective factors that might reduce aggressive behaviors later on—both within romantic as well as parent-child relationships." Working closely with leaders in the fields of psychology and engineering, Dr. Shapiro will utilize cutting-edge technology to measure different channels of arousal such as vocal arousal (e.g. abusive language, yelling), physical arousal (recording momentary changes in perspiration and other functions of the autonomic nervous system), and behavioral arousal (e.g. crying, bursts of anger) to examine how past experiences with relational aggression relate to current dating aggression.