Hot Sauce, toy guns, and graffiti: A critical account of current laboratory aggression paradigms



In 1996, Tedeschi and Quigley published a review of laboratory aggression research that included many damning criticisms of the genre. This paper revisits Tedeschi and Quigley's critique, and examines the ways that subsequent researchers have addressed the weaknesses they identified. In particular, it examines three new laboratory aggression paradigms (Hot Sauce, Bungled Procedure, and Experimental Graffiti Paradigms) that have attempted to improve upon the “classic” paradigms (Teacher/Learner & Essay Evaluation Paradigms, Competitive Reaction Time Game, Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm, and Bobo Modelling Paradigm). In each case, this review will show, that although some aspects of the new designs are indeed improvements, many of Tedeschi and Quigley's arguments still apply. In conclusion, this investigation will identify a number of factors that future laboratory aggression researchers should consider. These include: The perceptions and motivations of the aggressor; the apparent distance between the aggressor and the target; the availability of non-aggressive response options; the problems of demand characteristics, permissive cues and agentic shift; the differences between proactive and reactive aggression, and the distinction between overt and covert forms of aggression. Aggr. Behav. 00:000–000, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.