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Two studies investigated the relationship between aggression and Social Value Orientation (SVO), a trait like predisposition to maximize Cooperative, Individualistic or Competitive goals. In Study 1, which was correlational, participants’ aggression was measured via questionnaire and SVO by a series of decisions in which points are allocated to self and an anonymous other. It was found that participants with a Cooperative SVO scored lower on aggression than those with either an Individualistic or Competitive SVO. In Study 2, using an experimental design, participants were randomly assigned to receive information that their partner was high in aggression, or low in aggression and a third group received no information. Study 2 showed the same relation between participant SVO and aggression found in Study 1. Contrary to predictions, there were no effects for the aggression of the partner. Together these studies provide support for a weak, but replicable relationship between participants’ aggression and their SVO. Future investigations may shed light on the nature of this relationship by testing personality and situational factors that may moderate the relation between SVO and aggressive personality.



University of Delaware

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