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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fight club

 

A Winning Smile? Smile Intensity, Physical Dominance, and Fighter Performance

Michael Kraus & Teh-Way David Chen
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The smile is perhaps the most widely studied facial expression of emotion, and in this article we examine its status as a sign of physical dominance. We reason, on the basis of prior research, that prior to a physical confrontation, smiles are a nonverbal sign of reduced hostility and aggression, and thereby unintentionally communicate reduced physical dominance. Two studies provide evidence in support of this prediction: Study 1 found that professional fighters who smiled more in a prefight photograph taken facing their opponent performed more poorly during the fight in relation to their less intensely smiling counterparts. In Study 2, untrained observers judged a fighter as less hostile and aggressive, and thereby less physically dominant when the fighters' facial expression was manipulated to show a smiling expression in relation to the same fighter displaying a neutral expression. Discussion focused on the reasons why smiles are associated with decreased physical dominance.

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The Effect of Conjugal Visitation on Sexual Violence in Prison

Stewart D'Alessio, Jamie Flexon & Lisa Stolzenberg
American Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2013, Pages 13-26

Abstract:
Using yearly state-level data drawn from a variety of different sources and a pooled cross-sectional time-series research design, we examine whether conjugal visitation attenuates sexual violence in prison. The determination of whether sexual violence in prison is less apt to transpire in states that allow conjugal visitation is theoretically relevant. Feminist theory argues that conjugal visitation has little if any influence on the occurrence of rape and other sexual offenses in prison, notwithstanding the gender of the offender and victim, because such offenses are crimes of power that are employed by the offender as an instrument to dominate and humiliate the victim. On the other hand, sexual gratification theory postulates that conjugal visitation provides inmates with a means of sexual release. Therefore, conjugal visitation should reduce sexual offending in prison. Results support sexual gratification theory by showing that states permitting conjugal visitation have significantly fewer instances of reported rape and other sexual offenses in their prisons. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.

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Maternal age at first birth and offspring criminality: Using the children of twins design to test causal hypotheses

Claire Coyne et al.
Development and Psychopathology, February 2013, Pages 17-35

Abstract:
Teenage childbirth is a risk factor for poor offspring outcomes, particularly offspring antisocial behavior. It is not clear, however, if maternal age at first birth (MAFB) is causally associated with offspring antisocial behavior or if this association is due to selection factors that influence both the likelihood that a young woman gives birth early and that her offspring engage in antisocial behavior. The current study addresses the limitations of previous research by using longitudinal data from Swedish national registries and children of siblings and children of twins comparisons to identify the extent to which the association between MAFB and offspring criminal convictions is consistent with a causal influence and confounded by genetic or environmental factors that make cousins similar. We found offspring born to mothers who began childbearing earlier were more likely to be convicted of a crime than offspring born to mothers who delayed childbearing. The results from comparisons of differentially exposed cousins, especially born to discordant monozygotic twin sisters, provide support for a causal association between MAFB and offspring criminal convictions. The analyses also found little evidence for genetic confounding due to passive gene-environment correlation. Future studies are needed to replicate these findings and to identify environmental risk factors that mediate this causal association.

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Implicit Theories of Personality and Attributions of Hostile Intent: A Meta-Analysis, an Experiment, and a Longitudinal Intervention

David Yeager et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that hostile schemas and adverse experiences predict the hostile attributional bias. This research proposes that seemingly nonhostile beliefs (implicit theories about the malleability of personality) may also play a role in shaping it. Study 1 meta-analytically summarized 11 original tests of this hypothesis (N = 1,659), and showed that among diverse adolescents aged 13-16 a fixed or entity theory about personality traits predicted greater hostile attributional biases, which mediated an effect on aggressive desires. Study 2 experimentally changed adolescents' implicit theories toward a malleable or incremental view and showed a reduction in hostile intent attributions. Study 3 delivered an incremental theory intervention that reduced hostile intent attributions and aggressive desires over an 8-month period.

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Neighborhood Disadvantage and Verbal Ability as Explanations of the Black-White Difference in Adolescent Violence: Toward an Integrated Model

Thomas McNulty, Paul Bellair & Stephen Watts
Crime & Delinquency, February 2013, Pages 140-160

Abstract:
This article develops a multilevel model that integrates individual difference and sociological explanations of the Black-White difference in adolescent violence. Our basic premise is that low verbal ability is a criminogenic risk factor that is in part an outcome of exposure to neighborhood and family disadvantages. Analysis of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth reveals that verbal ability has direct and indirect effects (through school achievement) on violence, provides a partial explanation for the racial disparity, and mediates the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage at the neighborhood level. Results support the view that neighborhood and family disadvantages have repercussions for the acquisition of verbal ability, which, in turn, serves as a protective factor against violence. We conclude that explanation of the race difference is best conceived as originating from the segregation of Blacks in disadvantaged contexts.

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Do video games exert stronger effects on aggression than film? The role of media interactivity and identification on the association of violent content and aggressive outcomes

Jih-Hsuan Lin
Computers in Human Behavior, May 2013, Pages 535-543

Abstract:
This study investigated whether media interactivity would influence the short-term effects of violent content on audience aggression. The general aggression model, social cognitive theory, and character identification offered the theoretical framework. A random sample of 102 male college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: video game playing, recorded game-play watching, or movie watching. The results indicated that video game players (mediated enactive experience) experienced greater increases in aggressive affect, aggressive cognition, and physiological arousal than participants who watched recorded game play or comparable movie scenes (mediated observational experience). The study indicated that media interactivity in video game exacerbated the violent effect on short-term, aggressive responses. Character identification did not mediate the effect of media interactivity on aggression. Future studies should incorporate more comprehensive measures of character identification to investigate inconsistent findings regarding media interactivity and identification.

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The personality traits of workplace bullies are often shared by their victims: Is there a dark side to victims?

Daniel Linton & Jacqueline Power
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2013, Pages 738-743

Abstract:
In this exploratory study, we examined the extent to which both workplace bullies and victims possess bully-typifying traits, using a 22-item scale that simultaneously measures perpetrators and targets of negative workplace acts. Participants were 224 Canadian university students aged 18-47 with prior work experience. Bivariate correlational analyses determined that bullying others was positively associated with measures of Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychoticism, aggression, and disinhibition. Being a victim was positively associated with the same Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychoticism, and aggression measures. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that an "alternative dark triad" of Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychoticism related significantly to bullying scores; while psychoticism and Machiavellianism related significantly to victim scores. Aggression and sensation seeking measures failed to account for significant variance in bully or victim scores beyond the triad variables. The vast majority of bullies (89.7%) and many victims (41.7%) were bully/victims, operationally defined as being both perpetrators and targets at least once per week in the last 6 months. Researchers and employers would do well to recognize the presence of bully/victims in their efforts to understand and reduce workplace bullying.

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Middle school students overestimate normative support for aggression and underestimate normative support for nonviolent problem-solving strategies

David Henry et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, February 2013, Pages 433-445

Abstract:
This study tested five hypotheses related to the accuracy of students' perceptions of school norms for aggression and nonviolent problem-solving strategies with two cohorts (ns = 852 and 968) of 6th-grade students in 12 schools. Students consistently overestimated peer normative support for aggression and underestimated peer normative support for nonviolent problem-solving strategies. This effect remained significant in tests of moderation by gender, ethnicity, and aggression level. Tests for moderation by the degree of provocation (e.g., if a student was hit first) and a test measuring actual norms from eighth graders and perceived norms from seventh graders suggested that the discrepancy was not due to self-serving bias or social desirability. Longitudinal analysis found that the discrepancy remained through 8th grade. The discrepancy between actual and perceived norms has implications for risk and violence prevention, which are discussed.

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Youths' displaced aggression against in- and out-group peers: An experimental examination

Albert Reijntjes et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often displace their anger and aggression against innocent targets, sometimes called scapegoats. Tragic historic events suggest that members of ethnic minority out-groups may be especially likely to be innocent targets. The current experiment examined displaced aggression of Dutch youths against Dutch in-group peers versus Moroccan out-group peers. Participants (N = 137, Mage = 11.6 years) completed a personal profile that was allegedly evaluated by Dutch peer judges. After randomly receiving negative or neutral feedback from these peers, participants were given the opportunity to aggress against other innocent Dutch and Moroccan peers by taking money earned away from them. Results showed that in response to negative feedback, participants displaced aggression disproportionally against innocent Moroccan out-group targets. This effect was not driven by ethnic prejudice; in both conditions, participants holding more negative attitudes of Moroccans engaged in higher levels of aggression regardless of the ethnicity of the target.

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Does Perpetrating Violence Damage Mental Health? Differences Between Forcibly Recruited and Voluntary Combatants in DR Congo

Tobias Hecker et al.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, forthcoming

Abstract:
As a consequence of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), combatants are constantly involved in various forms of violence. Findings concerning the impact of perpetrating violence on mental health are contradictory, ranging from increasing to buffering the risk for mental ill health. The present study investigated the impact of perpetrating violence on mental health. In total, 204 forcibly recruited and voluntary male combatants (mean age = 24.61 years) from different armed groups in the eastern DRC took part in the study. In a semistructured interview, respondents were questioned about appetitive aggression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as self-experienced violence and self-perpetrated violent offending. A multivariate analysis of variance (η2 = .23) revealed that voluntary combatants perpetrated more violent acts (η2 = .06) and showed higher appetitive aggression η2 = .03). A moderated multiple regression analysis (R2 = .20) showed that perpetrating violence was positively related to PTSD in forcibly recruited combatants, but not in voluntary combatants. Thus, perpetrating violence may not necessarily qualify as a traumatic stressor. Further studies might consider assessing the combatant's perception of committing violent acts.

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Constructing Physical Fights: An Interactionist Analysis of Violence among Affluent, Suburban Youth

Curtis Jackson-Jacobs
Qualitative Sociology, March 2013, Pages 23-52

Abstract:
Based on more than four years of ethnographic fieldwork and a dataset of 189 violent encounters, this article explores the social phenomenology of physical fights in a novel setting. Although American sociologists have traditionally depicted violence as a distinctively "ghetto" phenomenon, the members of this sample were overwhelmingly white and affluent. Since the usual explanatory background factors - race, poverty, and neighborhood - cannot adequately account for their violent experiences, the dataset is especially valuable for analyzing the generic interactional processes through which physical fights unfold. Furthermore, the article suggests a model that runs counter to the prevailing sociological perspective that violence is universally motivated by independent, preexisting conflicts. Oftentimes, the sample members set out to "get into" fights for their perceived experiential rewards and only later instigated disputes as a means to motivate and justify violent action. Using the method of analytic induction, the article presents a generalizable theory of how fights unfold in interaction. Three stages were necessary for achieving a fight: (1) agreeing to fight as a solution to a challenge to "interpersonal sovereignty," (2) transcending the ordinary fear of violence, and (3) using competitive techniques of violence.

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Does Warmth Moderate Longitudinal Associations Between Maternal Spanking and Child Aggression in Early Childhood?

Shawna Lee, Inna Altschul & Elizabeth Gershoff
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether maternal warmth moderates the association between maternal use of spanking and increased child aggression between ages 1 and 5. Participants were 3,279 pairs of mothers and their children from a cohort study of urban families from 20 U.S. cities. Maternal spanking was assessed when the child was 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years of age. Maternal warmth and child aggressive behavior were measured at 3 years and 5 years of age. Models controlled for demographic characteristics (measured at the child's birth), child emotionality (measured at age 1), and maternal psychosocial risk factors (measured when children were 3 years old). Cross-lagged path models examined the within-time and longitudinal associations between spanking and child aggression. Results indicated that maternal spanking at age 1 was associated with higher levels of child aggression at age 3; similarly, maternal spanking at age 3 predicted increases in child aggression by age 5. Maternal warmth when children were 3 years old did not predict changes in child aggression between 3 and 5 years old. Furthermore, maternal warmth did not moderate the association between spanking and increased child aggression over time. Beginning as early as age 1, maternal spanking is predictive of child behavior problems, and maternal warmth does not counteract the negative consequences of the use of spanking.

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Longitudinal associations in adolescence between cortisol and persistent aggressive or rule-breaking behavior

Evelien Platje et al.
Biological Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although several studies have associated antisocial behavior with decreased Cortisol Awakening Responses (CAR), studies in adolescent samples yielded inconsistent results. In adolescence however, the CAR develops and antisocial behavior is heterogeneous in type and persistence. Therefore this longitudinal study compared persistent aggressive and rule-breaking adolescents to low aggressive and rule-breaking adolescents on the development of the CAR from ages 15 to 17 (N = 390). Persistently high aggressive adolescents showed decreased cortisol levels at awakening consistently over the years (Δχ2(1) = 6.655, p = .01) as compared to low aggressive adolescents. No differences between adolescents showing persistent high rule-breaking and low rule-breaking were found. This longitudinal study is the first to show that persistent aggression, but not rule-breaking behavior, is related to neurobiological alterations. Moreover, despite development of the CAR over adolescence, the decrease in cortisol is consistent over time in persistent high aggressive adolescents, which is an important prerequisite for the prediction of persistent aggression.

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Killing is positive! Intra-game responses meet the necessary (but not sufficient) theoretical conditions for influencing aggressive behavior

Annie Lang et al.
Journal of Media Psychology, Fall 2012, Pages 154-165

Abstract:
This paper reports a study designed to investigate whether playing violent video games elicits the psychological conditions theoretically required for media use to cause aggressive behavior. Specifically, the study was designed to examine whether these games elicit desensitization, facilitation, and disinhibition. Thus, does physiological arousal in response to violent activity decrease over time during game play, and is there a difference between novice and experienced game players (as would be expected if desensitization had occurred)? Do players experience positive emotional states when actively engaged in virtual violent behavior (fighting and killing opponents) - a necessary condition for disinhibition? Do game players frame their motivations in terms of self-defense and game success, as would be necessary for facilitation to occur? The results showed that playing first-person shooters did elicit these requisite patterns of cognitive, physiological, and emotional states. Violent game play is a positive, arousing, present, dominant experience, as required for disinhibition and facilitation. Experienced game players are less aroused than less experienced game players (as required for desensitization). Further, during a game-playing session, exploring and searching for enemies become less arousing, while fighting and killing become more arousing over time (as required by desensitization and facilitation).

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Lack of Support for the Association between Facial Shape and Aggression: A Reappraisal Based on a Worldwide Population Genetics Perspective

Jorge Gómez-Valdés et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2013

Abstract:
Antisocial and criminal behaviors are multifactorial traits whose interpretation relies on multiple disciplines. Since these interpretations may have social, moral and legal implications, a constant review of the evidence is necessary before any scientific claim is considered as truth. A recent study proposed that men with wider faces relative to facial height (fWHR) are more likely to develop unethical behaviour mediated by a psychological sense of power. This research was based on reports suggesting that sexual dimorphism and selection would be responsible for a correlation between fWHR and aggression. Here we show that 4,960 individuals from 94 modern human populations belonging to a vast array of genetic and cultural contexts do not display significant amounts of fWHR sexual dimorphism. Further analyses using populations with associated ethnographical records as well as samples of male prisoners of the Mexico City Federal Penitentiary condemned by crimes of variable level of inter-personal aggression (homicide, robbery, and minor faults) did not show significant evidence, suggesting that populations/individuals with higher levels of bellicosity, aggressive behaviour, or power-mediated behaviour display greater fWHR. Finally, a regression analysis of fWHR on individual's fitness showed no significant correlation between this facial trait and reproductive success. Overall, our results suggest that facial attributes are poor predictors of aggressive behaviour, or at least, that sexual selection was weak enough to leave a signal on patterns of between- and within-sex and population facial variation.

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School Outcomes of Aggressive-Disruptive Children: Prediction From Kindergarten Risk Factors and Impact of the Fast Track Prevention Program

Karen Bierman et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A multi-gate screening process identified 891 children with aggressive-disruptive behavior problems at school entry. Fast Track provided a multi-component preventive intervention in the context of a randomized-controlled design. In addition to psychosocial support and skill training for parents and children, the intervention included intensive reading tutoring in first grade, behavioral management consultation with teachers, and the provision of homework support (as needed) through tenth grade. This study examined the impact of the intervention, as well as the impact of the child's initial aggressive-disruptive behaviors and associated school readiness skills (cognitive ability, reading readiness, attention problems) on academic progress and educational placements during elementary school (Grades 1-4) and during the secondary school years (Grades 7-10), as well as high school graduation. Child behavior problems and skills at school entry predicted school difficulties (low grades, grade retention, placement in a self-contained classroom, behavior disorder classification, and failure to graduate). Disappointingly, intervention did not significantly improve these long-term school outcomes.

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Age Differences in the Impact of Employment on Antisocial Behavior

Kathryn Monahan, Laurence Steinberg & Elizabeth Cauffman
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
While research suggests that working more than 20 hr weekly is associated with greater antisocial behavior among middle- and upper-class youth, some have argued that employment benefits at-risk youth and leads to desistance from crime among youthful offenders. This study investigates the relation between hours worked, school attendance, and employment characteristics on antisocial behavior in a sample of approximately 1,300 juvenile offenders (ages 14-17 at baseline) tracked over 5 years. The combinations of high-intensity employment and irregular school attendance, unemployment and irregular school attendance, and unemployment and not being enrolled in school are associated with significantly greater antisocial behavior, particularly during early adolescence. High-intensity employment diminishes antisocial behavior only when accompanied by attending school. 

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM