Situational Influences: Putting It All Together

Anderson and others produced the especially influential General Aggression Model (Allen et al., 2018; DeWall, Anderson, et al., 2011). The basics of this model propose:

1. Various aversive experiences (such as frustration or heat), situational cues (such as weapons), and individual differences (such as a hostile attribution bias) can create negative affect, high arousal, and/or aggressive thoughts, each of which contributes to aggressive behavior.

2. Whether aggressive behavior is then likely to result depends in part on the out- come of higher-order thinking, which can either inhibit aggression (such as by recognizing the danger of the situation or recognizing that what seemed like a provocation was really just an accident) or facilitate it (such as by perceiving that aggression is encouraged by one’s peers in this situation or that a provocation was intentional).

Eli Finkel and others proposed what they call the I3 theory (pronounced “I-cubed theory”). This theory emphasizes the role of self-control in aggression, which we just discussed in the previous section. The three Is in this theory stand for:

1. Instigation—social factors that often trig- ger aggressive impulses, such as provoca- tion or social rejection

2. Impellance—personality and situational factors that promote the urge to ag- gress when encountering instigating fac- tors, such as angry rumination or trait aggressiveness

3. Inhibition—the various factors of self-con- trol we described in the previous section

This theory pits the forces of instigation and impellance on the one hand against the power of inhibition on the other to determine the likelihood of aggression. For example, strong provocation coupled with angry rumination can overpower a person’s self-control abilities that have been compro- mised by alcohol, resulting in an elevated likelihood of aggression.

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