Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Breaking the Link Between Provocation & Aggression: The Role of Mitigating Information

In two experimental studies, we examine the extent to which strong or weak mitigating information after a provocation alters aggressive responding. 

In Study 1, we randomly assigned 215 (108 female) college-aged participants to a strong or weak provocation by having a research assistant talk to the participant about failing a task in a harsh or confused tone. This was followed by a second research assistant giving a strong or weak excuse to the participant regarding the first research assistant's behavior. Then, aggressive behavior was assessed using a researcher rating task. In Study 2, 63 (25 female) college-aged participants interacted with a confederate on the CRT. All participants were strongly provoked by receiving strong noise blasts. After five CRT trials, the confederate delivered weak or strong mitigating information to the participant regarding the noises blasts. 

The results indicated that: 
  1. strong provocations are more likely to increase aggression than weak provocations; 
  2. strong mitigating information is more likely to decrease aggression than weak mitigating information; and 
  3. (the varying strength of mitigating information is important in situations involving weak, but not strong provocations: 
    1. strong mitigating information is more likely than weak mitigating information reduce aggression when provocation is strong, 
    2. but not when provocation is weak. 
We discuss the importance of mitigating information in decreasing aggressive behavior and the conditions in which mitigating information is especially likely to be effective.

Purchase full article at:

  • 1Department of Psychology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.
  • 3Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 
  •  2016 Mar 10. doi: 10.1002/ab.21650.

No comments:

Post a Comment