In the experiment of Richard Walters and Murray Brown, boys, who were rewarded from time to time for striking plastic dolls, began to behave more aggressively in a few days towards the peers competing with them. In Miomir Zuzul’s experiment, boys, often playing with children’s weapons, then showed more aggressiveness in their behavior towards their classmates. Experiments by Charles Turner and Diane Goldsmith showed that pre-school boys who played with infantile guns displayed more aggressive antisocial behavior later than boys who dealt with conventional toys.
Imaginary aggression does not have a positive effect either for calm children or for children in a state of heightened emotional arousal.
In the experience of Shahbaz Mallik and Boyd McCandliss, pairs of third-grade students, composed of representatives of both sexes, had to build models from the designer. Moreover, each child who was the object of observation did not know that his partner received from the leaders of the experiment a special task, which was either to help solve the construction task or to interfere with its implementation in a harsh manner. Immediately after the end of this stage, the subjects had to perform an additional task within eight minutes. Its appearance had a decisive effect on the results obtained. Some subjects who were members of groups of both the first and second types had to exhibit imaginary aggression by shooting from toy guns, while in control conditions in groups of both types both participants in each pair spent time in neutral conversations with experimenters. At the same time, another group was used to determine how aggressive the subjects would be if they found out that the incorrect actions of the partners were not directed to them personally. With some of the irritated children the experimenters talked and explained to them that the behavior of the partners was due to fatigue and sorrows.
When the time for the additional task was running out, the assistants of the experimenters moved to another room supposedly to solve similar tasks of constructing models from the designer. Each of the unsuspecting subjects received the opportunity to either help or prevent this assistant from performing the specified work by pressing special buttons on the electronic device. The degree of aggressiveness of their behavior was measured by the number of clicks of the "Harm" button when trying to interfere with the work of the partner (the maximum number of times this button was pressed was 20).
It turned out that the children’s irritation markedly increased the manifestation of their aggressive inclinations, even if their partners did not intend to interfere with their design activities. The actions of the experimenter, explaining the reasons for the brutal behavior of another child, significantly reduced the desire (or readiness) of children to punish their abuser. Having changed their opinion about the offender in a favorable way, the children either completely refused to use retaliatory measures, or significantly reduced the level of their aggressiveness. On the other hand, the aggressive style of the game did not lead to a reduction in the number of attempts to attack the offender. Thus, the excited children did not experience the beneficial effect of catharsis as a result of shooting their toy guns.
Discharging aggression, repeating itself, ceases to work as an emotional response, turning only into psychopathic behavior.
"When my younger brother was angry with something, he kicked the furniture, our mother said that in this way he" releases steam. "Now he is years old, and if something annoys him, he still takes out his anger on the furniture. But in addition, he began to beat his wife, his children, his cat and destroy everything that comes in his way "- so one reader responded to the psychologist’s recommendation to give the child a special" whipping bag "to help him cope with flashes of irritation.
As L. Berkowitz wrote in his classic study, "When the brother of this woman kicked the furniture, his imagined aggression against other people received reinforcements, so his tendency to violence grew stronger, and he himself was more likely to attack any irritation that caused him In many ways, similar processes can occur whenever people behave aggressively, regardless of the form in which such behavior is expressed. There comes a time when specialists on mental health problems Hur people should stop to recommend the implementation of an imaginary violence as a means of easing the propensity to aggression. "
Discharge of aggression and negative emotions in men and women
The method of detente aggression through crying and splashing emotions badly helps men, but sometimes helps women. As for the relaxation of aggression, not through speech, but with the help of real or imagined physical actions, such as to beat an imaginary offender, then experiments confidently say that men do not release from aggression, while for women it becomes easier. See →
When imaginary aggression gives a positive effect
Imaginary aggression can have a positive effect if it has brought a person joy, satisfaction and increased his mood. A person in a good mood is really less aggressive.
People who have enjoyed shooting from a gun on targets or from the fact that, running through a dark corridor, were able to hit all their opponents from an electronic light rifle, they can really experience a flood of benevolent feelings for the next few minutes or even hours. However, this state will not be the result of their release from the urge to violence, but the result of their good mood in this period of time ↑.
As Elliott Aronson puts it ↑, "the lion’s share of the facts testifies against the hypothesis of catharsis." At first glance, this may seem strange, since at a certain level the idea of catharsis is not meaningless, I mean that it is consistent with folk wisdom advising in anger first of all, "letting out steam," "giving vent to your anger," etc. What is the reason for the contradiction between popular wisdom and science? I think it is due to the fact that we humans are cognitive animals. depends not only on the tension is from what the person feels, but also from what he thinks: Put yourself in the place of the participant in the situation described in the two previous experiments.If you need to strike another person with an electric shock or disapprovingly speak out about your leader - and do it the second time it will become much easier.In a sense, your primary hostile act makes you want to justify it.Why? As it was shown in the previous chapter, when a person causes harm to another, thereby triggering cognitive processes aimed at to justify an act of cruelty. Thus, cognitive dissonance decreases, but at the same time soil is prepared for further aggression. "(Elliot Aronson, Public Animal, Introduction to Social Psychology, SPb, Prime-Euroznak, 2006, pp. 253 - 254.)