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P-30.- Vocal communication in tree shrews: Do changes in vocal patterns correlate with agonistic behavior?

Kirchhof, J., Hammerschmidt, K.  and Fuchs, E.
Department of Neurobiology, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany

Tree shrews live solitary and defend territories against conspecifics of the same sex. Under laboratory conditions housing of two males in one cage results in a stable dominance hierarchy. The agonistic encounters between the two males are accompanied by reciprocal vocalization and vary in the behavior displayed. This study aimed to analyze the behavioral repertoire of tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri) during dyadic agonistic interactions and the communicative function of the related calls. Agonistic behavior was induced according to our standard protocol (1). An adult male was introduced into the cage (‘territory’) of a socially experienced conspecific (‘dominant’). Video and digital audio tape (DAT) recordings were made during and after the encounters and following parameters were quantified: amount of agonistic behavior, percentage of behavior categories, and the number of approaches. Call parameters were measured to describe selected sound structures. Agonistic interactions consisted of chasing, threatening, and fighting. The amount of agonistic behavior and the percentage of chasing were significantly larger in interactions with a more aggressive dominant. During encounters, both animals uttered a characteristic call type, the “squeak”. Dominants’ and subordinates’ “squeaks” showed significant differences in several parameters. However, these differences were influenced by individual characteristics and the rival an animal was confronted with. Besides, changes in subordinates’ “squeaks” correlated significantly with the number of the dominants’ aggressive approaches. Physical causes of call parameters were excluded, since there was no correlation with body mass. Behavioral and vocal patterns in male tree shrews depend on the dominance status, but also on individual characteristics and the aggressive motivation towards a rival. Changes in call parameters correspond to motivation structural code (2), e.g. increasing pitch indicates increasing fear, while decreasing pitch indicates increasing aggression. It is concluded that structural changes of threat calls in tree shrews correspond to specific motivational states.

1) Fuchs, E. et al., Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 54: 219-228, 1996.

2) Morton, E.S. Am. Naturalist, 111: 855-869, 1977.


P-31.- Anger, Hostility and Aggression among Japanese, Iranian and Spanish Students: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Fujihara, T., Andreu*, J.M., Musazadeh**, Z. and  Ramírez*, J.M
Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan. *University Complutense, Madrid, Spain. **University Complutense, Madrid, Spain/Tehran, Iran. 

This paper reports on a cross-cultural investigation into the nature of different styles of aggression and emotions related to aggressive behavior. In the study of aggression and violence, it is important to differentiate between objective behavior (aggression) and subjective emotions and cognitions (anger and hostility). A cross-cultural approach can estimate with greater accuracy the relationships between these components. A representative sample of undergraduate students in Japan, Iran and Spain completed the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992). Factor analysis confirmed the factorial structure of the questionnaire in these countries. The ANOVA of the physical aggression factor score showed a significant main effect between countries, sexes and also interaction between both these factors. The ANOVA of the hostility factor score only indicated a significant main effect of sex. The ANOVA of anger and verbal aggression factor scores showed a significant main effect of country. Finally, a new factor labeled "'hostile aggression" was found. The ANOVA of hostile aggression factor score resulted in a significant main effect of country, sex and country x sex interaction. These results showed the complex modulation of aggression, anger and hostility by both factors of sex and culture.

P-32.- The impact of prior relationship on anger-related cognitions

Epps, J., Quiñones, B. and Hill-Epps, P.
Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

Hostile attributional bias refers to the tendency among aggressive persons to interpret the behaviors of others as hostile.  First demonstrated by Dodge and Newman (1981) among children and in situations where social cues for intent were ambiguous, the construct was recently extended.  Epps & Kendall (1995) demonstrated hostile attributional bias in young adults, in situations that not only portrayed intent as ambiguous, but in more clearly hostile and benign situations as well. The present study used prerated scenarios to investigate hostile attributional bias as a function of two situational cues: (a) presence vs. absence of previous social relationship, and (b) degree of objectively prerated hostile intent of a provocateur.  Participants (n=172) completed Spielberger’s State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, with highest and lowest 30 males and females on the Trait Anger subscale labeled the high and low Trait-Anger group, respectively.  They then responded to scenarios depicting negative social outcomes resulting from another’s actions.  The scenarios were prerated as reflecting hostile, ambiguous or benign intent, and known or unknown protagonist.  Participants indicated how angry they would be in that situation, the degree of hostility they attributed to the protagonist’s intent, and how they would respond.  Across all conditions, high Trait anger participants attributed more hostility, and reported more anger and aggressive responding than low Trait anger persons.  When social cues were clearly hostile, both high and low Trait angry persons attributed more hostility to strangers than to acquaintances.  They rated their anger and aggressiveness of response as greater for strangers than acquaintances. High anger persons responded to acquaintances much the same as low anger participants responded to strangers.  Conversely, when social cues were ambiguous or benign, both high and low Trait Angry persons attributed more hostility toward acquaintances than strangers, and rated their anger and aggressive responses accordingly. High anger persons’ responses to strangers were the equal of low anger participants’ responses to acquaintances.  Findings indicate that hostile attributional bias predicts situational anger and aggression across varying patterns of situational variables.  Findings further underscore the need to control for relationship issues when studying anger and aggression.

P-33.- Sexual harassment on campus: A preliminary study in the University of Balearic Islands.

Bosch-Fiol, E. and Ferrer-Pérez, V. A.
Faculty of Psychology, University of Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca. Baleares, Spain

On May 1996, the Spanish penal code was changed to include new offences and to remove others. One of these novelties was the consideration of sexual harassment as an offence, both in work place and academic site. This investigation tries to identify which behaviours are considered as sexual harassment in academic site. We elaborated a 38 items questionnaire about different personal interaction events (between students and teachers). The continuum went from normal to sexual harassment situations. The subject had to include every item in one of this categories: A) sexual harassment, b) other offences, c) rude behaviour, d) normal interaction behaviour. We administrated this questionnaire to 897 students and 53 teachers in our University. Gender and professional differences were obtained throughout the data analysis. Women and teachers defined behaviours that constitute sexual harassment in a wide way but more accurately than men and students. The data analysis confirms the literature revised. Defining sexual harassment is not easy for all groups. These results evidence that gender plays a definitive role in the sexual harassment definition. The women have a higher tendency to consider many of the items as sexual harassment compared with men that assess more items as rude behaviours but not offences. Managing the two variables at the same time the group of female teachers is the most strict in their assessment and the group of male students the less severe.

P-34.- Proneness to anger and aggression in Japanese and Spanish students, measured by the Anger Situation Questionnaire

Ramirez, J.M., Fujihara*, T., van  Goozen**, S. and Merino J.V.
University Complutense, Madrid, Spain. *Kwuansei Gakuin, Nihsinomiya, Japan. **Academisch Ziekenhuis, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The purpose of the study was to study the eventual relationship between subjective disposition to anger and objective aggressive expressions; more specifically,  if anger proneness is predictive of anger arousal and aggression. 425 University students in both sexes and cultures  (195 in Japan: 48 males and 147 females; and 230 in Spain: 56 males and 174 females) completed a vignette measure of anger proneness, the Anger Situation Questionnaire (Van Goozen et al., 1994 a, b). Subjects were asked to imagine being in each of the situations described, and to indicate which emotion they would experience, its intensity, and what they would feel inclined to do in that situation. The differences were viewed  as consisting  of a tendency to react angrily to various types of events, and as comprising  of: (a) differences in the tendency to appraise emotional situations in angry terms, and (b) differences in thresholds for angry and aggressive responding. Some cultural differences in anger and aggressive tendencies might be expected comparing Japanese and Spanish populations. Our data showed that: 1) aggression resulted from the individual's disposition to react aggressively to such events; 2) no significant sex differences were found in any of the samples for either anger or aggression proneness; 3) anger proneness was also not significantly different in both samples; but 4) aggression proneness was significantly higher in the Japanese students than in the Spanish ones. It may be concluded that the proneness toward feelings of anger and angry responding is rather universal, even if open to minor peculiar characteristics for the different sexes and cultures.

P-35.- Behavioural adaptation in male rats exposed to social stress in the resident/intruder paradigm

Calvo-Torrent, A., Picó-Alfonso, M.A. and Martínez , M.
Area of Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Valencia, Spain. 

Defeat resulting from intraspecific encounters between male rats represents a biologically relevant form of social stress that induces profound changes in behaviour, endocrinology, neurochemistry, and immunology. The resident/intruder paradigm is one of the most used animal models to induce social stress in rats. The aim of the present study was to establish the behavioural adaptation of male rats exposed to repeated defeat experience. To this purpose, Lister hooded male rats were exposed to the attack of a larger male along 1, 2, 5, 10 or 20 consecutive days in the latter´s home cage.  The aggressive encounter had a duration of 20 min and was divided into two phases: a pre-defeat phase (10 min) in which animals remained separated by a perforated transparent partition, and a defeat phase (10 min) in which animals were allowed to interact. The duration, latency and frequency of the behaviours of the defeated animals during the pre-defeat (locomotion, rear, sniffing the resident, close to the partition, freezing, body care) and defeat phases (upright defensive posture, on the back, escape and freezing) were recorded. The results show that during the pre-defeat phase defeated rats increased the time spent in body care and freezing, and the frequency of freezing across the days, while the time spent close to the partition and in locomotion, the frequency of sniffing the resident, and the latency to freezing decreased. During the defeat phase, an increase in the time spent in upright defensive posture was observed after 5 days of defeat, and a decrease in the latency to freezing after 20 days. In summary, the adaptation in the behaviour of defeated animals along days was characterised by the increase in passive coping strategies (i.e. a decrease in social and non-social exploratory behaviours, and an increase in freezing and submissive behaviours). Furthermore, these results suggest that the pre-defeat phase is more appropriate than the defeat phase to determine the behavioural adaptation to repeated social stress, indicating a learned fear response.

This study was supported by the University of Valencia (ref: 2212) and the BBV Foundation.


Garcia-Linares, M.I., Calvo-Torrent, A.  and Martínez , M.
Area of Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Valencia, Spain. 

The dominance/subordination relationship involves the attack by the dominant male but also the fear induced by his presence in the subordinate. The aim of this study was to determine the effect that the mere presence of the dominant male has on brain activity and behavior of the subordinate rat. To this purpose, Lister hooded male rats were exposed to an aggressive Wild-type male rat during 20 minutes in the home cage of the latter, being defeated by him. The following day, defeated males were exposed to the dominant in the same cage during 20 minutes but separated from him by a perforated transparent partition. There were two control groups: a) animals exposed on day 1 to the home cage of an aggressive male that has been removed, and on day 2 to this unkown male separated from him by the partition; b) animals exposed to an clean empty cage on day 1, and to the same cage with the partition in it on day 2. Both the behavior of the animals during day 2 and the expression of c-fos in brain areas related to stress were analysed. Animals exposed to the dominant male spent less time in approaching the partition, showed freezing more frequently, and had a longer latency to body care than the controls exposed to an empty cage. Similar differences were observed in the latency to body care and frequency of freezing between animals exposed to the dominant and the other control animals. On the other hand, exposure to the dominant rat increased the expression of c-fos in the central grey, locus ceruleus and dorsal raphe areas in comparison to the other groups. However, the two groups exposed to another male on day 2 showed more c-fos expression in the lateral septum and the lateral hypothalamic area than the other control group.  In conclusion, the exposure to the dominant male has effects on both the behavior and the activity of the brain. However, some of these effects are induced just by the mere presence of another coespecific male. This study was supported by the University of Valencia (ref: 2212).


Falkenbach, D.M., Epps, J. and Hill-Epps, P.
Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA

The belief that males are more aggressive than females has support in previous research (Donovan, 1985).  Newer versions of the biological theories speculate about the influences of hormones on aggression. Van-Goozen, et. al. (1995) found that androgen deprived males showed a marked decrease in anger and aggressiveness.  Social learning theorists (e.g., Bandura, 1973) propose that aggressive behaviors are learned vicariously, and that vicarious learning is further supported by the direct experience of consequences when a previously modeled behavior is enacted. The present study on hormones and aggression uses cross-sectional designs with persons of differing hormonal levels.  The population consists of 30 transsexual males undergoing therapy to reduce testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels, and a comparison group of transsexual males awaiting hormone therapy.  Support for the biological perspective would be inferred if participants’ self reported ratings of aggression was lower as a function of the lower testosterone.  Specifically, participants with normal testosterone levels will rate themselves as being more aggressive on the Aggression Questionnaire, the State Trait Personality Inventory and Anger Expression Scale, and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) aggression scale (AGG) then those with lower testosterone levels. Support for the social learning perspective will be inferred if participants’ self-reported levels of aggression do not change as a function of hormone levels. Cross-sectional results suggest support for social learning theories of aggression for this population.  Specifically, the AGG scale scores on the PAI show no difference between those taking hormones and those with normal hormone levels.


Musazahdeh, Z., Sánchez*, D., Andreu*, J.M. and Ramirez*, J.M.
Univerisity Complutense Madrid, Spain-Iran, * University Complutense Madrid, Spain

The degree of moral acceptance of several aggressive acts of different quality and intensity have been analyzed in the context of different social circumstances that may justify A questionnaire of moral  attitudes on aggression (C.A.M.A.) was applied in Iran and Spain to 1052 College and University students  (457 males and 595 females), with an average of 18 years of age. Each of the 8 categories of aggressive acts was accompanied by a list of 6 different situations that may serve to justify the action. The most significant differences found between both populations were the following:

Spanish students showed a higher level of aggressivity in all the components analyzed.

In the approval of aggressive acts, Rage was the most acceptable act in Iran, and Irony in Spain.

Regarding the most justificable situations for aggression, in Spain it was considered Defense or Protection of others, whilst in Iran Punishment was the most acceptable reason.

The most acceptable interactions acts-situations were: Hindering in Defense of property, in Spain; and Rage as a Punishment, in Iran.

This data showed the existence of some interesting cultural differences in the norms and beliefs towards the approval of aggression.


Soler-Herreros, E., Hernández-Jiménez, M.J. and Donate-Redondo, F.
Centro Mujer 24 Horas, Dirección General de la Mujer, Consellería de Bienestar Social, Valencia, Spain.

It is known that physical and/or psychic maltreatment has a strong impact on the emotional health of women who suffer it. The way abuse is carried out, its duration and frequence are some of the variables which establish the gravity of psychological sequels. The aim of this study is to determine the influence of several manifestations of both physical and psychic maltreatment and psychic maltreatment alone, the duration and the frequency of abuse in the psychological well-being of women who suffer it. The sample is made up of 339 women who physical and psychological maltreatment (n=198) and psychological maltreatment (n= 141); who were attended during 1999 in 24 Hours General Management of the Woman, specialised in the attention to women victims of gender violence. The evaluation instruments used are the social value protocols (General Management of the Woman) where are gathered variables related to the kind of maltreatment (affronts, menaces, hits, pushes, etc.), frequency (first time, habitual or sporadic) and its duration  (chronic violence) and the protocol of psychological evaluation (General Management of the Woman) which evaluate the intensity of emotional uneasiness of the woman (it is made up of 64 items related to conduct, knowledge and psycho-physiologic components). The results obtained show that the frequency of physical and/or psychic maltreatment has larger psychological repercussion than the duration of the maltreatment. It is has been observed that habitual physic and/or psychic maltreatment reaches larger statistic weight than sporadic alone (listlessness t= 2.00, p<.05; fear t= 2.37, p<.05; sensation of catastrophe t= 2.94,  p<.05; anser t= 2.17, p<.05; lack of reaction to problems t= 2.59, p<.05; diminution of social activities t= 2.08, p<.05; useless t= 2.30, p<.05; nerviness t=2.36, p<.05; insomnia t= 2.77, p< .05).