Title

Imitation of Self-Aggressive Behavior: An Experimental Test of the Contagion Hypothesis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2003

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to experimentally examine the influence of a self-aggressive model on self-aggressive behavior under controlled laboratory conditions. Participants (N = 94) were given the opportunity to self-administer electric shock while competing with a fictitious opponent in a reaction-time task. Participants observed the opponent self-administer either increasingly intense shock (a self-aggressive model) or constant low shocks (a non-self-aggressive model). Self-aggression was defined as the intensity of shock that was self-administered by participants. Results provide support for the notion that social information can influence the expression of self-aggressive behavior. Specifically, participants attended to the opponent's shock choices in both model conditions, and chose shocks consistent with those of the observed model.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Social Psychology

Volume

33

Issue

5

First Page

1036

Last Page

1057