Further evidence for the validity of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity of a modified version of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP) as a measure of direct physical aggression. Hypotheses were generated from recent theory pertinent to the categorization and measurement of aggressive behavior as well as widely supported effects of alcohol intoxication and gender on aggression. Participants were 328 (163 men and 165 women) healthy social drinkers between 21 and 35 years of age who completed self-report personality inventories designed to assess one's propensity toward direct physical aggression, verbal aggression, trait anger, and hostility. Following the consumption of either an alcohol or a placebo beverage, participants were tested on the TAP, in which mild electric shocks were received from, and administered to, a fictitious opponent during a competitive task. Direct physical aggression was operationalized as the shock intensities (i.e., first trial shock intensity, mean shock intensity, proportion of highest shock) administered to the fictitious opponent. Although all self-report measures were significantly associated with the three TAP indices, the associations involving physical aggression were strongest. In addition, self-report measures of physical aggression consistently predicted higher levels of aggression on the TAP indices in men, compared with women, and in intoxicated, relative to sober, participants. Taken as a whole, this pattern of findings provides further evidence for the validity of the TAP as a measure of direct physical aggression for men and women. Aggr. Behav. 34:214–229, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.