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Journal Article

Cognitive Social Learning Mediators of Aggression

David G. Perry, Louise C. Perry and Paul Rasmussen
Child Development
Vol. 57, No. 3 (Jun., 1986), pp. 700-711
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130347
Page Count: 12
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Cognitive Social Learning Mediators of Aggression
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Abstract

This research explored links between aggression in elementary school children and 2 classes of social cognitions that might influence children's decisions about whether to behave aggressively. Aggressive and nonaggressive children (mean age 11.3 years) responded to 2 questionnaires. One questionnaire measured children's perceptions of their abilities to perform aggression and related behaviors (perceptions of self-efficacy), and the other measured children's beliefs about the reinforcing and punishing consequences of aggression (response-outcome expectancies). Compared to nonaggressive children, aggressive subjects reported that it is easier to perform aggression and more difficult to inhibit aggressive impulses. Aggressive children also were more confident that aggression would produce tangible rewards and would reduce aversive treatment by others. There were negligible sex differences in perceived self-efficacy for aggression but large sex differences in anticipated social and personal consequences for aggression, with girls expecting aggression to cause more suffering in the victim and to be punished more severely by the peer group and by the self. It was concluded that children's knowledge of their capabilities and children's knowledge of the consequences of their actions are factors that need to be taken into account by cognitive models of aggression.

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