1 Department of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Over the years, different explanations have been given for the difference between personality traits and situational factors regarding how they affect our behavior. The present study investigates the role of personality traits versus situational factors in aggressive behavior.
The purpose of this research was to examine whether situations in which participants are made to feel angry are more powerful than personality traits in determining aggressive behavior.
Forty-eight women students from Qatar University (M= 21.73, SD=4.43) completed the 200-item ZKA Personality Questionnaire, which measures aggressiveness, neuroticism, activity, extraversion and sensation-seeking, and the 7-item trait anger scale from the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ). Following an experimental situation that triggered anger by an interpersonal insult, the participants were randomly assigned to an anger-induced group (experimental condition) or a nonanger-induced group (control condition). Afterwards, the participants completed the hot sauce paradigm to assess aggressive behavior.
The results showed a significant difference between the anger and nonanger groups regarding aggressive behavior. However, no significant correlation was found between any facets of the personality questionnaire or the trait anger scale and aggressive behavior.
Situational influence is more powerful than personality traits and trait anger in determining aggressive behavior. These findings are discussed based on the debate addressing the influence of situational or person-specific traits in determining actual behavior.
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