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Aggressive Behavior


The attentional myopia model of behavioral control [Mann and Ward, 2007] was tested in an experiment investigating the relationship between physiological arousal and aggression. Drawing on previous work linking arousal and narrowed attentional focus, the model predicts that arousal will lead to behavior that is relatively disinhibited in situations in which promoting pressures to aggress are highly salient. In situations in which inhibitory pressures are more salient, the model predicts behavior that is relatively restrained. In the experiment, 81 male undergraduates delivered noise-blasts against a provoking confederate while experiencing either high or low levels of physiological arousal and, at the same time, being exposed to cues that served either to promote or inhibit aggression. In addition to supporting the predictions of the model, this experiment provided some of the first evidence for enhanced control of aggression under conditions of heightened physiological arousal. Implications for interventions designed to reduce aggression are discussed. Aggr. Behav. 34:584–592, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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