Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Electroencephalographic (EEG) and Personality Correlates of Anger, Hostility, and Aggression
by Watson, Eric, M.A., East Carolina University, 2014, 110; 1558854
Abstract (Summary)

Background: Anger, Hostility, and Aggression have been thought of as major influencing factors of numerous negative health behaviors. To date, research has focused on identifying various personality types in effort to further understand the role of these negatively portrayed emotional, cognitive, and behavioral phenomena. However, due to conceptual inconsistencies, anger, hostility, and aggression are typically used synonymously and erroneously, thus requiring further understanding utilizing existing theoretical frameworks including the reinforcement sensitivity model and trait-congruence attentional bias theories.

Purpose: The current study investigated the encephalographic and behavioral responses to a modified Stroop task with the sole purpose of further understanding possible personality, neurophysiological, and behavioral correlates underlying the constructs of anger, hostility, and aggression.

Methods: Participants were asked to complete a series of self-report inventories assessing personality traits and measures of anger, hostility, and aggression. This was followed by the completion of a modified Stroop task during which electroencephalogram (EEG) and behavioral recordings (reaction times) of 51 women and 40 men recruited from psychology and neuroscience classes at East Carolina University were obtained. The modified Stroop task consisted of two phases: 1. A practice phase, during which the participants were oriented to the task via the presentation of a block of 10 neutral visual word stimuli to which they would respond using a four-button keypad, quickly and accurately pressing the button corresponding to the color each word was written; 2. A test phase consisting of two blocks of target stimuli (positively or negatively valenced word stimuli) interspersed in oppositely valenced word stimuli.

Results: Higher BAS scores were associated with the presence of anger, whereas, higher BIS scores were associated with reduced likelihood to self-report aggression. Regarding EEG frontal scalp sites, greater right frontal activity was observed for higher self-reported BIS scores, whereas higher BAS and Anger scores were associated with left frontal activity. Moreover, there were no significant findings in relation to event-related potential amplitudes or latencies in response to valenced word stimuli, nor were there significant findings associated with word stimuli presentation and reaction times.

Discussion: Findings were reviewed in the context of such theoretical models as the reinforcement sensitivity model and trait-congruence attentional bias theories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Everhart, Daniel E.
Commitee: Everhart, Daniel E., Tran, Tuan, Wuensch, Karl L.
School: East Carolina University
Department: Psychology: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 53/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Personality psychology
Keywords: Aggression, Anger, Electroencephalogram, Hostility, Personality, Psychophysiology
Publication Number: 1558854
ISBN: 9781303992261
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