- Too calloused to care: an experimental investigation of factors influencing youths' displaced aggression against their peers
- Journal of Experimental Psychology. General
- Volume | Issue number
- 142 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
People often displace their aggression against innocent targets. Notwithstanding the merits of previous research on displaced aggression, critical gaps remain. First, it is unclear whether and how situational and dispositional factors interact to influence displaced aggression. Moreover, it is unclear whether engaging in direct aggression increases or decreases displaced aggression. To address these gaps, the present experiment investigated how situational factors (provocateur availability, provocation intensity) and dispositional factors (callousness, trait aggressiveness) jointly influence displaced and direct aggression in male adolescents. Participants (N = 175, Mage = 13.1 years) completed a personal profile that was allegedly evaluated by peer judges. After randomly receiving mild or strong negative feedback, participants could aggress against these peer judges as well as against other innocent peers (direct and displaced aggression) or against innocent peers only (displaced aggression). Results showed that displaced aggression occurred only when the negative feedback was strong and participants could not retaliate directly. Higher levels of callousness specifically predicted more displaced (but not direct) aggression. However, the potentiating effects of callousness emerged only when the negative feedback was strong. This finding highlights the importance of examining disposition by situation interactions in displaced aggression research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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