ERIC Number: ED178206
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Moderators of Boys' Aggressive Reactions to Violence: Empathy and Interest.
Steinman, David R.; Sawin, Douglas B.
First and fifth grade boys' interest in a televised portrayal of violence and their expressions of empathic pain in response to the victims' pain cues were examined as variables moderating their aggressive behavior toward a peer. The 27 subjects viewed a violent videotaped stimulus which consisted of a fight between two men and which included segments that clearly revealed the pain cues of the victims of the violence. These cues consisted of vocalizations of pain as well as close-up shots of the victims' facial expressions of pain. In order to assess the subjects' affective reactions, video recordings of their faces were made as they viewed the televised stimulus. Following the televised violence and the recording of the facial expressions, the subjects' willingness to behave aggressively toward a peer was assessed using a modified version of Liebert and Baron's "Help/Hurt" apparatus. The subjects were put in a position of being able to hurt or help another child's chances of succeeding on a difficult task. Regression analyses indicated that empathic expressions of pain recorded on the faces of the older boys while viewing a victim's pain was negatively correlated with subsequent aggression toward a peer. In contrast, expressions of interest and pain during the high-violence segments of the televised violence significantly predicted higher levels of aggression toward a peer by the younger boys. These results are discussed in terms of older boys' ability to monitor their emotional arousal and to use arousal cues in the control of their aggressive behavior. (Author/MP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (87th, New York, NY, September 1-5, 1979)