Personalization and differentiation as moderators of triggered displaced aggression towards out-group targets



Two studies examined the reduction of triggered displaced aggression (TDA) via bottom-up processing modes of de-categorization. Participants were provoked by the experimenter and then interacted with an ostensible out-group member who either did or did not provide a second (triggering) provocation. Study 1 compared TDA toward a triggering out-group member who had previously been either differentiated from the out-group, made the focus of self-other comparison, or was in a no-information control condition. As predicted, both differentiation and self-other comparison reduced aggression relative to the control condition. Study 2 examined the effect of negative self-disclosure from the out-group target, and contrasted its effects with both self-other comparison with a negative other, and a no-information control condition. As predicted, triggered participants in the negative self-disclosure condition aggressed less than those triggered in the negative self-other comparison or no-information control conditions. The liking induced by self-disclosure mediated its aggression-reducing effect. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.