Emotion and aggression : the role of anger in predicting direct and indirect aggression
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Many psychologists have theorized that negative emotions lead to aggression but remain vague on what contexts trigger these emotions and how these emotions predict aggression. According to the recalibrational theory of anger, signals that an interaction partner places low relational evaluations on oneself trigger anger, which motivates aggression (Sell, Tooby, & Cosmides, 2009). In the present study, we test the theory that anger mediates aggression and examine how other negative emotions relate to aggression. In an online study, we found that anger partially mediated the relationship between relative mate value and direct aggression as well as between relative mate value and indirect aggression. Further, anger fully mediated the relationship between self-perceived strength and direct aggression. For men, anger fully mediated the relationship between self-perceived mate value and indirect aggression. However, fear, embarrassment, and sadness did not predict aggression in any analyses. We conclude that anger, but not negative emotions more generally, predict aggression.
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