Perspective-specific differences in the segmentation and evaluation of aggressive interaction sequences

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Abstract

The present study is based on a social psychological concept of aggression, focusing on typicalities in the subjective definitions and interpretations of aggressive interactions.

The study was conducted to explore whether perspective-specific divergences in the evaluation of longer aggressive interaction sequences are accompanied by different descriptions of the content and different segmentation of the interaction from the actor's versus the recipient's viewpoint.

Two hundred and fifty-three pupils participated in the study. The data obtained indicate that - while only slightly differing in the free descriptions and segmentations of the interaction - subjects evaluate the single behavioural segments more positive if they are in the position of an actor than of a recipient.

Presenting the subjects an ambiguous situation leads to perspective-specific differences in the subjective definitions of the beginning of the aggressive interaction, showing that there is a tendency to reject the initiator's role.

Four kinds of segments were distinguished; the MANOVA results show that actions initiating the conflict and actions defined as ‘serious’ are evaluated more negative than other, not specified segments. Actors' judgments are more affected by the distinction between segments than are those of recipients.

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