Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janie H. Wilson

Committee Member 1

Karen Z. Naufel

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker

Abstract

Alcohol consumption is linked to increases in aggression. Recently, alcohol-related cues alone have been shown to increase aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Furthermore, aggression is displayed differently by men and women; men are more physically aggressive, whereas women are more relationally aggressive. The current study further explored this influence of alcohol-related cues on physical and relational aggression. Furthermore, the study explored the influence of participant gender on type of aggression expressed. In this study, 126 undergraduates were primed with alcohol-related (e.g., Miller Lite) or non-alcohol related commercials (e.g., Diet Coke). Additionally, participants completed a competitive noise-blast task (physical aggression measure of length and loudness of noise-blasts), evaluated experimenter performance (relational aggression measure of ratings and recommendation of experimenter), and completed surveys on frequency of alcohol consumption, alcohol expectancies, and acceptance of aggressive behaviors. MANOVA results revealed a main effect of participant gender and aggression levels. Men gave longer noise-blasts than women, and women gave lower ratings and recommendations of experimenter than men. No relationship was found between type of commercial and aggression levels. Additionally, correlations between alcohol consumption and aggressive beliefs were found only for the alcohol condition. Results suggest that a gender difference in aggression still exists and that alcoholic cues were effective in priming participants to have more aggressive self-perceptions. Future research should examine effects of alcohol-cues on angered and non-angered participants.

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