It's Nothing Personal: The Effects of Collective Rejection on Aggression
Panageas, Elaine C.
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The effects of collective rejection on aggression were examined in a two experiment study. In Experiment 1, 90 participants (47 male, 43 female) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: rejection, acceptance, or misfortune. In each condition, participants read a different fictional article. The rejection article stated relations between the United States and other Western countries were in peril. The acceptance article stated these relations were secure. The misfortune article stated that an unfortunate event would occur in the United State's future. A questionnaire collected data on participants' aggressive behavior and attitudes towards aggression immediately after reading the article. Participants in the rejection condition had a more favorable attitude towards aggression (p = .003) and displayed more aggressive behavior (p = .048) than participants in the other two conditions. In Experiment 2, 60 participants (25 male, 35 female) were randomly assigned to the same three groups. The design and procedures were identical to Experiment 1, except for an added independent variable of object of aggression. In the ingroup object condition, the objects of aggression were members of the participant's ingroup. In the outgroup condition, they were members of an outgroup. Participants' attitude and aggression measures in the ingroup condition did not differ significantly from those in the outgroup condition. Implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.