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How emotion shapes aggressive behavior of violent offenders? An explanation based on emotion regulation theory

Submit Time: 2021-10-23
Author: 刘宇平 1 ; 周冰涛 2 ; 杨波 2 ;
Institute: 1.中国政法大学刑事司法学院; 2.中国政法大学社会学院;


[英文摘要] Emotion is considered to be an important factor affecting aggressive behavior. According to emotion regulation theory, distressed people hope to improve their moods,and the motivation to use aggression to improve mood will increase aggressive behavior. In other words, the expectation of emotions is an important factor in the generation of aggressive behavior. Previous theories and studies mostly focused on the role of negative emotions such as anger in aggressive behavior. Recently, some researchers believe that positive affect plays an equally important role in aggression. Also, negative and positive affect are orthogonal, they should be studied separately. In addition, according to the purpose of aggression, it is often divided into premeditated/ proactive aggression and impulsive/reactive aggression, the mechanism between the two subtypes may exist differences. Finally, most of the previous studies used college students as participants, and the external validity is limited. The present study based on emotion regulation theory, selected violent offenders as participants to explore the role of negative/positive affect in proactive and reactive aggression with 2 studies. In study 1, we recruited 88 violent offenders for scenario–based experiment. Participants were randomly divided into a reactive aggression group (n = 46) and a proactive aggression group (n = 42) in the adapted reaction time competition paradigm (Taylor Aggression Paradigm). Participants finished the first stage to manipulate types of aggression. Participants were told to compete with another participant (a fake participant) in racing the speed of reactions. In the reactive aggression group, participants lost the game and received negative feedback from their rivals; in the proactive aggression group, participants won the game and received positive feedback from their rivals. Then, they completed the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and the questionnaire of emotion regulation motive. Finally, they finished the second stage in which they could send their rivals’ noises, which can be considered as the aggressive indicator. Model 4 of Process was used to test the mediating role of emotion regulation motive between negative/positive affect and aggression. Participants finished PANAS after second stage for study 2. Repeated measures ANOVA and regression analysis were used to test the change of emotion before and after aggression. Study 1 showed that the motivation to improve mood played a mediating role between negative emotion and proactive/reactive aggression, but the effect was not significant for positive emotion. Study 2 showed that positive emotions would increase after proactive and reactive aggression; reactive aggression could reduce negative emotions, while proactive aggression could increase negative emotions. The following conclusions can be obtained from the two experiments: (1) In the negative emotions, violent offenders hope to improve their mood by conducting aggressive behavior. (2) Proactive and reactive aggression can increase the positive emotions of violent offenders, indicating that aggression can produce pleasure. (3) Reactive aggression can reduce the negative emotions; proactive aggression can increase the negative emotions of violent criminals. The present study illustrates the relationship between emotion, especially positive emotion and aggressive behavior in violent offenders. Aggression can produce pleasure, but it may also increase negative emotions, which in turn increases aggressive behavior, forming a feedback loop, which reflects the non-adaptive of aggressive behavior from the perspective of emotion. In practice, especially in prison, we should help individuals to learn a reasonable way to regulate their emotions,such as mindfulness. "
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From: 刘宇平
Recommended references: 刘宇平,周冰涛,杨波.(2021).情绪如何引发暴力犯的攻击?基于情绪调节理论的解释.[ChinaXiv:202110.00080] (Click&Copy)
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[V1] 2021-10-23 23:56:55 chinaXiv:202110.00080V1 Download
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