Does Aggressive Trait Induce Implicit Aggression among College Students? Priming Effect of Violent Stimuli and Aggressive Words

Zhang Qian, Jing-Jin Tian, Li Yang, Da-Jun Zhang


The purpose of the study was to examine the priming effect of exposure to violent pictures on implicit
aggression in a sample of 94 Chinese college students, and to verify the validity of General Aggression Model
(GAM) and Cognitive New-association Model (CNM). Violent and nonviolent pictures, as well as aggressive
and nonaggressive words, were used as primes to explore the relationship between violent stimuli and implicit
aggression of college students by employing modified Go-Nogo task. The results suggested that the priming
effect of exposure to violent pictures on participants was obvious, and that brief exposure to violent pictures
increased implicit aggression. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) found that interaction between
stimuli type (violent vs. nonviolent) and target word (aggressive vs. nonaggressive) was significant, implying
that violent stimuli primed implicit aggression among college students. Further simple effect analysis showed
that implicit aggression was significantly primed by violent stimuli for participants with high aggressiveness
(HA) and moderate aggressiveness (MA), but not for participants with low aggressiveness (LA). This result
should be cautiously explained that only implicit aggression of college students with HA and MA was
significantly primed by violent stimuli.

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International Journal of Psychological Studies   ISSN 1918-7211 (Print)   ISSN 1918-722X (Online)

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