Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Tammy Greer

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Bradley Green

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Tammy Barry

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Randolph Arnau

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The Competitive Prosocial/Aggression Continuum Task (COMPACT) (Biondolillo, 2010) was developed in order to create an improved reaction time paradigm for aggression that reduces demand characteristics and increases the scope of research applications available in previous designs by using a behavioral response palette of both aversive and pleasant auditory stimuli to model both aggressive and prosocial behaviors. Initial validation research on the COMPACT demonstrated significant correlations between aggressive responding and several scales of interest; however, such correlations demonstrated smaller effects than the medium-sized effects predicted based on the literature available on similar reaction time paradigms, and pleasant response options on the COMPACT had not been shown to function as a valid measure of prosocial tendency. Thus, the primary goal of this project was to further develop the construct validity of the COMPACT, with particular emphasis on the impact of recent program modifications,including different opponent stimuli sets (aggressive vs. prosocial opponent) and the addition of extreme response options. This study establishes significant evidence justifying the use of the COMPACT as a behavioral measure of aggressive and prosocial behavior, and it demonstrates significant differences in responding and patterns of convergent and discriminant validity based on manipulation of the opponent behavior.

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