CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Male Aggression Toward Females as a Function of Traditional and Nontraditional Cues and Visibility of the Target


An aggression paradigm, disguised as a competitive reaction time task, was designed to investigate aggression by males toward a female who deviated from traditionally expected properties of a female target. 33 male subjects, exposed to a female varying in traditional vs non-traditional appearance and attitudes, did not set differential shock levels for their target. The surprisingly high shock levels which subjects set for the female, however, resulted in an additional experimental condition to compare the visibility of the opponent in the design with the non-visibility of female opponents in previous studies demonstrating low aggression against females. Seven subjects with a non-visible target shocked their opponent significantly less than in all other conditions where males had contact with the female opponent. This finding suggests that studies using non-visible female targets cannot legitimately be generalized to real-life situations and that males may not be inhibited from aggressing against females as previously thought.

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Notes/Citation Information

Dr. Diane Follingstad had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the publication time.

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