Providing an Escape Option Reduces Retaliatory Aggression
The purpose of this study was to examine whether providing an explicit means to escape future attacks by a provocative fictitious participant reduces retaliatory aggression. Using a laboratory measure of aggression (the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm), 25 participants were given the opportunity to earn points with monetary value on a fixed ratio (FR) 100 schedule, and to subtract points from a fictitious participant on an FR 10 schedule. Aggressive responding was defined as the number of point subtraction responses by the participant. Aggressive responding also produced intervals free from further attack by the fictitious participant. Provocation was manipulated by having the fictitious person subtract points from the participant. Each participant next completed the same task with an explicit FR 10 escape response option added. The escape option produced intervals free from attack identical to the aggressive option, but without taking points away from the fictitious participant. Results indicate that the availability of an escape response attenuated aggressive behavior in response to provocation. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
McCloskey, M. S.,
Berman, M. E.,
Coccaro, E. F.
(2005). Providing an Escape Option Reduces Retaliatory Aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 31(3), 228-237.
Available at: http://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/2890