Emotional, Cognitive and Self-Enhancement Processes in Aggressive Behavior After Interpersonal Rejection and Exclusion
Institute of Applied Psychology, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland
The relationship between exclusion or rejection and aggression is already well documented, but there is still a debate about the mechanisms that underlie this effect. In two studies we focused on the propensity to react aggressively (readiness for aggression) on the bases of emotional, cognitive or self-enhancement (personality-immanent) processes. In both studies we first measured readiness for aggression and then ego-depleted participants. Next, in Study 1 we excluded participants (n = 96) using an online ball throwing game and measured displaced aggressive behavior - intensity and duration of an unpleasant noise administrated to a stranger. In Study 2 participants (n = 140) were rejected by a peer on the basis of an interview that they gave and then could retaliate by reducing peer's chance for getting a job. The results show that exclusion effect on displaced aggression was moderated by cognitive readiness for aggression, while rejection effect on retaliatory aggression was shaped by emotional and personality-immanent readiness for aggression as well as ego-depletion. The results were discussed in light of the strength model of self-control by Baumeister, Vohs, and Tice (2007).