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Aggression/Social psychology: Social information processing theory describes a series of four steps involving cognitive mechanisms that can account for whether an individual behaves aggressively or not in real time.
1) Encoding information from the social environment; individuals who have problems taking in relevant information to be able to understand situations fully are more likely to behave aggressively (Dodge, Bates, & Pettit, 1990)(1).
2) Making attributions for why other people behaved as they did or why an event occurred; individuals who make hostile, as opposed to benign, attributions are more likely to behave aggressively (Dodge, Price, Bachorowski, & Newman, 1990)(2).
3) Generating possible responses to a given situation; individuals who generate fewer possible responses overall and who generate more aggressive responses are more likely eventually to behave aggressively (Asarnow & Callan, 1985)(3).
4) Evaluating different possible responses; individuals who believe that aggression will lead to desired instrumental and interpersonal outcomes and that it is a good way to behave in a given situation are more likely to behave aggressively (Smithmyer, Hubbard, & Simons, 2000)(4).
1. Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (1990). Mechanisms in the cycle of violence. Science, 250,
2. Dodge, K. A., Price, J. M., Bachorowski, J., & Newman, J. P. (1990). Hostile attributional biases in severely aggressive adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 385—392.
3. Asarnow, J. R., & Callan, J. W. (1985). Boys with peer adjustment problems: Social cognitive processes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 80—87.
4. Smithmyer, C. M., Hubbard, J. A., & Simons, R. F. (2000). Proactive and reactive aggression in delinquent adolescents: Relations to aggression outcome expectancies. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 86—93.
Jenifer E. Lansford, “Aggression. Beyond Bandura’s Bobo Doll Studies“, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012