Effects of alcohol and behavior contingencies on human aggression

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Determined the mediating effects of alcohol and behavior contingencies on aggression in male social drinkers. 72 18–35 yr old Ss were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 groups in a 3 × 2 factorial design. To control for alcohol and expectation effects, one third of the Ss received alcoholic beverages, one third received placebo drinks, and another third was not administered any beverages. Aggression was assessed by the intensity and duration of shocks administered to a bogus partner in a modification of the Buss aggression procedure. Half of the Ss were exposed to aversive contingencies correlated with their aggressive responses, and half received random aversive contingencies. The inebriated Ss were significantly more aggressive than the sober Ss. The former Ss displayed an equally aggressive pattern under both contingency conditions, whereas the nonintoxicated Ss displayed a differential response pattern affected by the contingency type. These findings are attributed to the disrupting effect of alcohol on information processing and to the mediating effect of contingencies on the nonintoxicated individuals' aggressive behavior. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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