To investigate the effects of aversive conditions on priming of aggressive thoughts, 16 men and 16 women were assigned to either a normal temperature condition (21°C) or a hot condition (33°C). Participants completed story stems under the guise of studying how a variety of environmental factors such as noise, heat, and lighting might affect performance. Some story stems were ambiguous, in that either aggressive or nonaggressive endings were both plausible. Other stems were neutral, omitting cues that aggression might occur. The results revealed that people in the hot condition completed the neutral story stems with no more aggressive content than was found for the normal-temperature group. Low levels of aggressive content were found in the normal-temperature group's completion of the ambiguous stems. In contrast, the hot-temperature subjects employed significantly more negative emotions, frustrators, and aggression in the completion of the ambiguous story stems. These data support the premise that exposure to aversive stimulation primes thoughts associated with aggression, such that they can be more readily activated by cues of low salience.
Social Cognition – Guilford Press
Published: Jun 1, 1987
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