The emotional interaction between personal attributes and the environment is a key element to understand aggression. This study identified emotional responses of people with different aggressive traits to pictures with a specific affective content.
Three hundred fifteen individuals were divided into five groups according to their scores on the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, which consists of 24 pictures of the International Affective Picture System that depict aggression, the suffering of others, filial situations, and sexual content. Each picture was evaluated for valence, arousal, and dominance using the Self-Assessment Manikin scale.
Sexual pictures were more appetitive and associated with more arousal in the groups of individuals with some aggression-related dimension than in the non-aggressive group.
A strong interaction was found between aggressive traits (e.g., verbal aggression, physical aggression, anger, and hostility) and pictures with a sexual content. This interaction is decisive in understanding the later phases of aggressive behaviors and sexual aggression.
Emotions; aggression; motivation; sexual violence; arousal