Individual Differences Cultural

 Individual Differences Cultural and gender differences influence aggression, but what about individual differences? Are some individu- als simply more aggressive than others, across time and contexts, and, if so, what personality traits are associated with it? The evidence related to the first part of the ques- tion, about stability across time and contexts, is clear: Although situational variables (as we will see later in this

chapter) certainly do influence whether and how someone will aggress, there are some stable individual differences in aggressiveness. Aggression in childhood does predict aggression in adolescence and adulthood (along with adult criminal- ity, alcohol abuse, and other antisocial behaviors), although the strength of this relationship can vary as a function of the child’s upbringing.

What types of personalities tend to be associated with aggressiveness? Researchers often identify individuals’ personalities based on what are called the “Big Five” factors—five dimensions that account for a great deal of variability in people’s personalities across gender and culture. These five dimensions are (1) agreeableness (good-natured, trustful, cooperative), (2) conscientiousness (respon- sible, orderly, dependable), (3) openness to experience (intellectual, independent- minded, prefer novelty), (4) extraversion (outgoing, energetic, assertive), and (5) neuroticism (easily upset, emotionally unstable). Of these five factors, being low in agreeableness is a particularly strong predictor of aggression; being low on the dimension of openness and high on the dimension of neuroticism is also associated with aggression.

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