Aggression, Punishment and Provocation

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Aggression, Punishment, and Provocation


Correlational design is the nature of the relationship between theintensity of provocation events and the resultant triggered displacedaggression. The study was conducted to test the hypotheses derived byprevious researchers on the same subject of triggered displacedaggression. To test the hypothesis, a similar approach was adoptedbut with different controlling constructs including the bogusparticipants and the physical aggression factor.

Initial time 1 provocation events were the independent variable whilethe resultant time 2 trigger events were used as the dependentvariables in the study. The initial provocation to an individual wasassumed to significantly affect their disjunctively escalateddisplaced aggression. Notably, the magnitude of the initialprovocation (time 1 provocation) and subsequent trivial provocation(time 2 trigger) could be moderately stronger, neutral or mild andresulted in the demonstration of different reactions by theindividuals. This reaction according to the study was either positiveor negative. The causal relationship between the dependent and theindependent variables was the primary concern for the researchers.

To establish the correlation between the independent and thedependent variables, an experimental approach was used by theresearchers targeting psychology students and the rationale for theexercise was concealed from them. The students were given a task toundertake an anagram test but under a physical distraction of music.A bogus student was used as a control element in the study. Theexperimenter marked the task on completion by the participants. Theexperimenter verbally provoked the initial participants that theirwork was poor as compared to an engineering student. A different taskto list six traits of astronauts was administered to the alreadyprovoked participants, and their results were exchanged forevaluation by a bogus participant. Later a condition was imposed ontesting the participants` impression formation under differentconditions which in this case was to dip a hand in a bucket of coldwater. In conclusion, the participants were requested to react on theevaluation of their tasks by their partners as a positive, negativeor neutral reaction to the assessment. The students are probed forsuspicion on the rationale of the experiment released.

Critique of the Study

The current study was done to test whether the hypothesis coined inprevious studies on the trigger displaced aggression was true. Thestudy reveals that the paradigm was correct as assumed by (Vasquez etal., 2012). With no provocation at all, time 2 mild event was onlythe cause for accelerated displaced aggression. This was alsoestablished in the study when the participants who were not provokedin the initial test were not entirely affected by the evaluation oftheir sheets about the second task. Notably, participants in themoderately stronger and neutral trigger conditions did not experienceany significant levels of displaced aggression after the experiment.Strong support for the theory is demonstrated when the initiallyunprovoked participants do not react aggressively to the subsequentmild trigger. The findings are reliable and provide a conclusion thatis equivalent to the previous studies hence its reliability becomespositive. However, the study fails to show authenticity in anarticulation of subjects or variables. The design and the variablesare a duplicate of the previous studies done on the same theory.

Discussions and finding of the study on physical aggression, theevaluation of the task and the mediation process brings out thevalidity of the study in identifying the relationship between theindependent and dependent variables. The patterns of the results havea positive correlation with other two previous studies done on thesame issue. However, the previous studies majored on verbalaggression. The introduction of physical aggression at the time 2events, however, does not bring any new dimension to the studyhypothesis and the results yielded are similar to the previousstudies.

Analysis of the study should have used inferential statistics to showif any linear relationship exists between the independent and thedependent variables. Interpretations of the findings are consistentwith the previous studies as the analysis technique and procedure isthe same. The accumulation of the statistical methods used in theanalysis of the data best suited the study since in practiceexperimental practice cannot yield consistent results. Therefore suchmethods provide a robust way of harmonizing the data to provideconsistent analysis and interpretation (Vasquez et al., 2004).

Ethical considerations in the study are inadequately considered. Inevery social research ethical considerations are paramount to ensurethe findings and results reflect the ideals of the society. In givingexamples of triggering displaced aggression, the study assumes familyviolence an idea which the study seems to support by majoring in it.

In conducting this study, the primary concern was to evaluate theintensity of time events on the reactions of individuals after asecond time 2 event which can be mild, neutral and or moderatelystronger. The rationale was to test the hypothesis on whether in deedsuch a relation existed and also confirm on previously undertakenstudies on the same theory. Notably, the study introduced a physicalaggression which lacked in the previous studies, and the results werestill consistent. The implication of this is that there are moreconstructs which the study would have adopted, but the authors choseto duplicate the events of the previous studies in a differentsetting.

The results of the study are positive as they correlate with previousstudies undertaken on the same subject. However, the study in theinterpretation of the findings should have used a different approachfrom the previous studies to test if the results were consistentunder different conditions. For instance, a linearcorrelation-regression of the dependent and the independent variablesto quantify their relationship would provide a more comprehensive andunderstandable approach to the results of the study (Gordon, 2015).Also, quantifying the measures of the study variables on a scale ofseven and nine extremes should have been reduced. Making the scaleminimal creates room for consistence in the findings andwell-distributed data that can be easily interpreted.

The use of verbal aggression in testing the hypothesis of the theoryoffers limits to the authors. Even after the introduction of aphysical aggression on time 2 trigger events, the construct hasminimal effect on the analysis of the results as it leads to moremental conditions rather than the physical aggression it is assumedto measure.

To test the hypothesis as exhibited in the study requires strictchecks, control and monitoring of the participants as the rationalefor the study should be concealed from the participants. Knowledge ofthe purpose can lead to a change of behavior on the part of theparticipants and hence yield different results. For example, afterthe task, all participants must be probed to identify the extent ofsuspicion for the objective of the study.


Gordon, R. (2015). Regression analysis for the social sciences (1sted.). New York [u.a.]: Routledge.

Vasquez, E. A., Denson, T. F., Pedersen, W. C., Stenstrom, D. M., &ampMiller, N. (2004). The moderating effect of trigger intensity ontriggered displaced aggression. Journal of Experimental SocialPsychology, 41(1), 61-67.

Vasquez, E., Pedersen, W., Bushman, B., Kelley, N., Demeestere, P.,&amp Miller, N. (2012). Lashing Out after Stewing over PublicInsults: The Effects of Public Provocation, Provocation Intensity,and Rumination on Triggered Displaced Aggression. AggressiveBehavior, 39(1), 13-29.