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Trait Aggression

  • By: David Chester
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Some people are more aggressive than others. Does nature endow some people with more aggressive personalities than others? Or does nurture, in which factors within one’s environment shape aggressive tendencies, also matter? Early psychological research on aggression often focused on situational factors, ignoring the role of trait aggression. Indeed, a massive host of environmental variables that affect aggression have been identified, such as temperature, noxious odors, physical pain, and alcohol intoxication. Despite the profound effects that these external influences can have on an individual’s aggressive behavior, other work has suggested that aggression is also reliable over time in the same individuals. In a powerful demonstration of this concept, L. Rowell Huesmann and colleagues (1984) conducted a 22-year longitudinal study, tracking the aggressive tendencies of individuals ...

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