Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mitchell E. Berman

Committee Member

Kevin J. Armstrong

Committee Member

Michael Nadorff

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 1 year

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Previous efforts to manage aggressive behavior have generally focused on the emotion of anger, as opposed to aggressive behaviors. Several small-N studies have explored the promising approach of contingency-based interventions (e.g., the effort required to respond aggressively; Zhou et al., 2000), but have produced mixed results. Therefore, the present study aimed to determine whether experimentally-manipulated response effort effectively attenuates provoked aggressive responding using a modified version of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP; Berman et al., 2009). Participants included 123 (40 men; Mean age = 20.9, SD = 4.6) randomly assigned to either a low- or high-effort condition, crossed with a repeated measures provocation condition. Aggressive behavior was defined by the level of shock participants selected for their increasingly provocative “opponent” on a competitive reaction-time task. Results indicated that increased response effort attenuated both the overall average shock selected, as well as the use of "extreme" shocks in response to provocation.