Catharsis Theory And Aggression Analysis

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Previous studies have looked at the Catharsis Theory, rumination, and distraction when studying anger and aggression. The Catharsis Theory states that if an individual vents their anger their psychological state will improve. In this theory, by acting aggressively you are purging those angry feelings, thereby, leaving you in a more stable state of mind. The theory also states that viewing aggression has the same effect. Another theory on aggression is the Cognitive Neoassociation Theory. This states that venting ones anger would increase aggression. This goes directly against Catharsis Theory. Another approach on the topic of aggression is rumination and distraction. When an individual is ruminating they are thinking about something repeatedly.…show more content…
They were asked to write a paragraph on their view of abortion, either pro-life or pro-choice. The participants wrote on whatever side they were on and were asked to support their reasoning with in the paragraph. They were told that their paragraph was being evaluated by another individual in the study while they evaluated that induvial paragraph. In reality, the participant’s paragraph was not being evaluated and they received a paragraph on the opposing view they wrote about. All participants then received negative evaluations on their paragraph. After this they were asked to complete a questionnaire on ranking the activities they would like to participate in. Two thirds of the participants were then offered to hit a punching bag. Some of the participants were shown a picture of the alleged evaluator of their paper and told to think of the punching bag as that person. While others were told to think of being physically fit and were shown a picture of someone exercising. The group that was told to imagine hitting the evaluator was the rumination group. While the group that was hitting the bag to exercise was the distraction group. The group that were not participants in the punching bag portion was the control group. The next step in the experiment was the mood survey. All participants completed this. The form looked to evaluate and measure anger and positive effect.
The hypothesis was practically supported. The Catharsis theory was not supported and showed that aggression and anger were not vented by imagining taking out that aggression on the individual they were mad at. However the Cognitive Neoassocaation theory was supported. Aggression was shown to be the highest in the rumination condition. The distraction condition showed the same amount of anger, but less aggressive. While the control group showed the least aggression and anger.
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