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Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and
directed and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to
Brad Bushman (Iowa State University, Ames, IA)
Roy F. Baumeister (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH)
It has been widely asserted that low self-esteem causes violence, but laboratory evidence is lacking, and some contrary observations have characterized aggressors as having favorable self-opinions. In two studies, we measured both simple self-esteem and narcissism and then gave individual subjects an opportunity to aggress against someone who had insulted them or praised them, or against an innocent third person. Self-esteem proved irrelevant to aggression. The combination of narcissism and insult led to exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the source of the insult. Neither form of self-regard affected displaced aggression, which was low in general. These findings contradict the popular view that low self-esteem causes aggression and point instead toward threatened egotism as an important cause.
Moderating effect of trivial triggering provocation
on displaced aggression
William C. Pedersen and Norman Miller (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
Examined the impact of a trivial triggering provocation by the target of displaced aggression after independent prior provocation. Manipulation checks confirmed that antecedent provocation (p<.001) and trivial triggering provocation by itself (p<.001) elicited anger. The interaction between the two manipulations confirmed theoretical expectation (p<.005). Without an independent antecedent provocation, the triggering action had no impact on aggression toward its source. However, following an antecedent provocation, it dramatically increased displaced aggression beyond that elicited by provocation alone.
Displaced aggression: a meta-analytic review
Norman Miller (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
A. Marcus-Newhall (Scripps College, Los Angeles, CA)
William Pedersen (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA)
Content analysis shows that social psychology textbooks (N=123) view displaced aggression as conceptually unsubstantiated and obsolete. Meta-analysis, however, reveals its robustness (Mean effect size = +.55). Additionally, moderator analyses showed that: 1) negative interaction between the participant and target increases it; 2) greater perceived similarity between the participant and target directionally decreases it (p<.10); 3) the intensity of initial provocation is inversely related to it; and 4) greater similarity between provocateur and target has no effect. (back to top)