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Dr. Susan Boon
the Gauntlet

Online Exclusive: Sweet revenge

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Professional wrestling, ipod culture and Tales of Revenge in Intimate Relationships: Ruby Tuesday lectures have allowed University of Calgary professors to explore some of the more atypical topics in their academic repertoire.

Applied psychology professor Dr. Susan Boon spoke to a full house at the Siding Café in Art Central Tues., Nov. 21. She launched into her lecture, about revenge, subtitled "A Taste of Their Own Medicine," by first speaking of forgiveness.

"We assumed that forgiving partners is beneficial to the relationship," she said. "It allows the individual to deal with feelings of betrayal. Partners do not always forgive."

Boon noted that spurned partners attempting to get even with unfaithful lovers provide customers for what is a thriving online market. With a few clicks of a mouse, it's possible to have dead flowers, melted chocolates or even what resembles a severed finger sent to an object of former affection.

"Society both condones and condemns revenge at the same time," commented Boon.

Boon said there are many movies in which the hero "gets back at" the villain and the crowd goes wild. In contrast, many real life revenge-seekers show regret over even the most mundane of revenge acts. This contradiction greatly interested Dr. Boon, prompting her team to look closer at the psychology behind revenge.

"It's surprising to us that there hasn't been a lot of this kind of research," she said, noting she and grad students Vicki Deveau and Alishia Alibhia interviewed 90 undergraduate students who recalled instances in which they wanted to get even with a romantic partner or acted on this desire.

They found that acts described by students were mundane in comparison to stories they had seen on the news. Boon recalled an incident where an ex-wife allegedly drilled holes in her husband's prized yacht below the water level, causing it to sink.

This was the final Ruby Tuesday lecture. The lectures began as a celebration of the university's 40th anniversary this year as a way of allowing professors to connect with the U of C community.

Academic outreach advisor Shaunna Yuzik spoke highly of her experience with the events.

"These are the people who do the research, that have the knowledge," she said.

Though Ruby Tuesdays have come to an end, Yuzik said there are plans for a similar set of events in the near future. The U of C will partner with the Telus world of Science to put together Science Café, to be held at the Unicorn Bar and Lounge on Stephen Avenue.

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