ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 8, Issue 2, 126-139, 2017
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Validation of Emotional Experience Moderates the Relation between Personality and Aggression

  Nathaniel Herr - American University
  Evelyn Meier - American University
  Danielle Weber - American University
  Danielle Cohn - American University

Volume 8, Issue 2, 2017, Pages 126-139


This study examined if experimentally manipulated invalidation or validation of an emotional experience moderates the relation between five-factor personality characteristics and aggressive behavior. Participants were 69 undergraduates who, after undergoing a sad mood induction, were randomized to receive either a validating or invalidating comment before completing a behavioral measure of aggression. As predicted, experimental condition moderated the relation between personality and aggression such that participants who were average or low in agreeableness and conscientiousness were more aggressive when invalidated than validated, whereas participants who were high in these traits were low in aggression regardless of experimental condition. A three-way interaction emerged such that the two-way interaction between conscientiousness and experimental condition was significant only among participants who were average or high in neuroticism. This study is the first to demonstrate experimentally that big-five personality characteristics commonly linked to trait aggression may only produce aggressive behaviors under certain conditions, namely, invalidation. 

Table of Contents
  Five-Factor Personality Traits
  Trait Aggression (AQ; Buss & Perry, 1992)
  Behavioral Aggression

Correspondence to
Nathaniel R. Herr, American University, Department of Psychology, Asbury, 321A, 4400, Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington D.C., 20016

five-factor model, personality, validation, invalidation, aggression

Received 20 Mar 2016; Revised 2 Nov 2016; Accepted 2 Nov 2016; In Press 19 Feb 2017

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