Interactive effects of life experience and situational cues on aggression: The weapons priming efect in hunters and nonhunters

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Interactive effects of life experience and situational cues on aggression: The weapons priming efect in hunters and nonhunters

Category: Behavior|Journal: Journal of Expiremental Social Psychology (full text)|Author: A Benjamin, B Bartholow, C Anderson, N Carnagey|Year: 2005

Recent research (Anderson, Benjamin, & Bartholow, 1998) indicates that the presence of guns increases the accessibility of aggressive thoughts via automatic priming. Our research examined whether this ‘‘weapons priming effect’’ differs depending on the structure of an individuals knowledge about guns, and if so, whether that difference results in corresponding differences in aggressive behavior. Experiment 1 revealed that individuals with prior gun experience (hunters) have more detailed and specific information about guns than do individuals with no direct gun experience (nonhunters), and that hunting experience interacts with gun type (hunting versus assault) in predicting affective and cognitive reactions to guns. Experiment 2 revealed that pictures of hunting guns were more likely to prime aggressive thoughts among nonhunters, whereas pictures of assault guns were more likely to prime aggressive thoughts among hunters. Experiment 3 showed differences in aggressive behavior following gun primes that correspond to differences in affective and cognitive responses to gun cues. Our findings are discussed in light of the General Aggression Model.

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