- How goal-fulfillment decreases aggression
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 45 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
We suggest that the goal to aggress increases accessibility of aggressive thoughts, and that after goal-fulfillment, accessibility of aggressive content is reduced. Experiment 1 showed an increase in accessibility of aggression after imagining an aggression-eliciting situation compared to non-aggressive content. After goal-fulfillment the accessibility of aggression was reduced, regardless of whether fulfillment was achieved by imagining physical or symbolic revenge. Experiment 2 showed similar effects for a non-aggressive conflict-resolution and, in addition, demonstrated a post-fulfillment reduction in actual aggressive behavior. Experiment 3 demonstrated that aggressive acts that do not constitute goal-fulfillment instead increase accessibility of aggression. Relations between our model and previous views on catharsis of aggression are discussed.
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