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Puyat, J.H.
Department of Psychology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

Majority of the psychological studies conducted on aggression focused on the neurobiological and situational determinants of aggressive behavior.  Recently, basic cognitive processes were investigated and found to be significantly predictive of aggressive behavior. In many of these studies, however, cognitive processes were almost always treated as an individual phenomenon; virtually immune to the influences of group membership. A different stance was taken in this study. Here, cognitive processes are taken to be frequently subject to the influences of group-shared knowledge structures. Groups based on gender and membership in fraternities/sororities were used for comparison. To determine the elements of shared cognitions, respondents were asked to write down everything that comes to their mind when they hear or see the word aggression. The data collected from this word association task were subjected to correspondence analysis to determine how the elements were structured. Results revealed that respondents’ thoughts were organized using two dimensions: individual-intergroup and abstract-concrete dimensions. Other aspects of the representation, such as the instrumentality dimension, centrality of intentions and anchoring in past experiences and value priorities were investigated using survey questionnaires.  Results of the analyses indicated that the instrumental representation of aggression is a characteristic more of the male sample. The male sample also reported committing the most number of aggressive acts. Furthermore, the instrumental representation appears to be nurtured in fraternity groups than in any other groups used in the study. Regarding the centrality of intentions, it was found out that the respondents in the sample do not consider “intentions to cause harm” as an important defining element of aggression. North American social psychology, on the contrary, hinges the idea of aggression on one’s intention to hurt another person. The nature of the harm effected, physical or emotional, seemed to be central to the respondents’ idea of what constitutes aggressive action. This finding was interpreted in light of the local culture’s propensity to pay less attention to internal dispositions. Lastly, the instrumental representation of aggression is found to be positively correlated with value priorities such as power, hedonism and achievement and negatively correlated with value priorities such as benevolence, universalism, tradition and conformity.


Chaux, E.
Department of Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA

Colombia has currently one of the highest rates of violence in the world. Much of this violence occurs in the context of interpersonal conflicts. For this reason, many scholars and policy makers have suggested that violence in Colombia could be reduced if children learn ways to de-escalate interpersonal conflicts and to deal with those conflicts peacefully. Because the majority of conflicts among school-age children occur in the presence of other peers and adults, third parties could become facilitators of such learning processes. This study investigated the role that third parties play during conflicts among fifth-graders from public schools in Bogotá, Colombia. Twenty-four preadolescents (10-12 year-olds) living in poor and violent neighborhoods were interviewed. The participants had not received any conflict resolution training. Fifty-eight stories of recent conflicts with similar-age friends, acquaintances, and strangers were collected and analyzed. It was found that third parties played roles in the majority of peer conflicts (81%). Peer third parties, who played a role in two-thirds of the conflicts, most commonly cheered, instigated, or got involved in support of one of the parties. Teachers and school administrators played a role in one third of the conflict, most commonly by punishing, scolding, or threatening to punish both sides of the conflict. Parents were third parties to a quarter of the conflicts. They usually got involved in the conflicts supporting their own children. Third parties did not play the role of mediators in any of the conflicts. In less than 10% of the conflicts did third parties promote reconciliation among the parties. In several occassions, third parties' interventions transformed interpersonal conflicts into intergroup conflicts, escalating the level of  aggression. The results of this study indicate that third parties are not promoting peaceful ways of dealing with conflicts. On the contrary, third parties often contribute to the escalation of the level of aggression. This suggests that violence prevention programs in Colombia and elsewhere need to  help children and adults learn to play constructive roles as third parties in children's conflicts.


Landau, S.F., Bjorkqvist*, K., Lagerspetz**, K.M.J., Osterman*, K.and Gideon, L.
Institute of Criminology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. *Dept. of Social Sciences, Abo Academi University, Vasa, Finland. **Dept. of Psychology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

Israel is a multi cultural society, characterized by a number of internal conflicts between various social groups. Two of the most salient of these conflicts within the Jewish population in Israel relate to: a) nomative-value systems: religious versus secular Jews; and b) the ethnic division between Jews of Eastern (Asian and North African) and Western (European and North American) origin. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of these two social divisions on aggressive behavior and victimization to aggression among Israeli children. Three types of aggressive behavior (physical, verbal and indirect) were investigated by means of peer estimation. The sample (n=630) was composed of three age groups: 8, 11, and 15 year olds. The findings indicate that the effect of both religiosity and ethnic origin was stronger on girls' than on boys' aggression and victimization: Secular respondents scored higher than their religious counterparts, and respondents of Eastern origin scored higher than those of Israeli or Western origin. As to the effect of age, similar to previous studies, in all types of aggression and victimization, and for both girls and boys, the 11 year olds scored highest, and the 15 year olds scored lowest. Among boys, physical and verbal aggression and victimization were significantly related only to age, whereas indirect aggression and victimization were related also to religiosity. Among girls, on the other hand, all three types of aggression and victimization were related to age and to either religiosity and/or ethnic origin. Various interactions between the variables are reported. The results are discussed within the wider context of the role of religiosity and ethnic origin in Israeli society and the differential effects of these variables on the socialization of girls and boys.


Aboelenein, M.
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt

Language is an important factor in any political communication. Political language is determined by the social context of a society as well as by political institutions and interests. Violent language can distort political communication. Distorted communication inhibits free discussions of public issues. This study aims at demonstrating the impact of violent political language on political participation, democracy, and overall political process in Egypt, where partisan press expresses controversies over strategic issues related to domestic and foreign policies. The study is based on content analysis of political writings and debates as published in six Egyptian partisan newspapers: Mayo (The National Democratic Party), Al-Ahali (The National Progressive Unionist Grouping Party), Al-Shaab (The Socialist Labor Party), Al-Wafd (The Neo-Wafd Party), Al-Ahrar (The Socialist Liberals Party), and Al-Arabi (The Nasserist Party). Content analysis reveals wide use of violent language in Egyptian partisan press. Violent vocabulary ranges from labelling and cynicism to defamation, threat, and accusation of corruption, betrayal, conspiracy or even atheism. The study finds a correlation between increase in violent political language and distortion in political communication. Violent political language has had a negative impact on discussing public issues.


Kemp, G.
Lentz Foundation, FALTA

In attempting to prevent or bring an end to the institution of war, the difficulties involved may reflect that we have failed to understand the true nature of war as institution of aggression and violence. It is assumed that what makes war so terrible is the killing and the death inflicted. In fact it is casualties that often measure of the terribleness of wars. This century’s increased literacy has allowed fuller accounts of nature of war from those involved, and the impact on their lives. These accounts reveal a new interpretation of the nature of war-violence. That is that killing is not the worst violence in war, instead it is de-humanisation process that is involved in that killing. It is less that people die in war that is so terrible; it is what institution of war demands upon the participating societies and their inhabitants. The victims of war are not the dead, ‘only the dead see the end of the war’ as Plato wrote. The victims are the survivors, and that includes recognition that combatants are major victims.  We remember the war-dead, but rarely do we remember the true victims of war.  We should come to see War as less as a glorified form of human physical aggression that we may see between individuals, but a form of structural violence which if not understood is capable of self–perpetuating itself. By this re-interpretation of nature of the aggression in war, maybe more successful peace processes can be established. A Peace process that goes beyond a treaty that stops the killing and resolves the conflict, but one that embeds a process of re-humanisation – to remove the true violence of war.


Herrero, M.T.
Faculty of Medicine. University of Murcia. Murcia. Spain.

The concept of peace is relatively easy to grasp, however that of international security at all levels is more complex and controversial. Current global situation proves the failure of violence in solving political, economic and social problems. In fact, war is the failure of genuine humanism. Culture of peace is an ethical decision which is being shown as the only rational road to be an option to the culture of violence. However, as it demands the humanity's conscious and organized effort, a program of peace is a matter of great importance and it should be a moral, political and educational effort. The notion of culture of peace advocates on the social level what sustainable development promotes on the ecological level. UNESCO calls Culture of Peace for the mainstreaming of peace and general social issues, reconizing the importance of human dignity, and using psychology not only on a micro-level but also on a macro-level, taking identity as a bridge. Its guidelines can be summarized in six basic sectors: respecting all life, rejecting violence, sharing with others, listening to understand, preserving the planet, and rediscovering solidarity. In addition, for the next century, culture of peace could not be supported without human development as well as without a new equilibrium based on gender equality. Then, culture of peace urges the strengthening of the female aspect in all conflict-resolution efforts. Peace is an utopia, but it is an essential dinamic utopia for development and democracy, and viceversa. Peace won't be possible without justice, without equaty and without sustainable human development. Efforts to move towards a culture of peace must be mainly founded in education. Considering culture as a way of thinking and organizing our lives, culture of peace must achieve the change of attitudes and mind-sets towards peaceful behaviours in conflict resolutions at all levels on which peace depends. Therefore, in a world worn out by the humiliation of both active and passive violence, culture of peace and culture of the harmony it is our hope and the only new paradigm for the future.