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Personal and Cultural Influences on Aggression

2 February, 2016 - 15:54

Learning Objectives

  1. Summarize the individual difference variables related to aggression.
  2. Explain how men and women differ, on average, in terms of aggression.
  3. Give examples of some cultural differences in aggression.

The occurrence of aggression is still another example of the interaction between person variables and situation variables. Although the social situation is extremely important, it does not influence everyone equally—not all people become aggressive when they view violence. You may be able to watch a lot of violent television and play a lot of violent video games without ever being aggressive yourself. On the other hand, other people may not be so lucky—remember that, on average, watching violence does increase aggression. Just as we may know some people who smoked cigarettes all their lives but never got lung cancer, I would still not recommend that anyone start smoking. The problem is that we don’t know if we are going to be affected until it is too late.

Let’s consider in this section the personality variables that are known to relate to aggression and how these variables may interact with the influence of the social situation.