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07-11-2020 | Uitgave 1/2021

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 1/2021

Examining Reactive and Proactive Aggression through Narrative Text Processing

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 1/2021
Thalia Mouskounti, Kostas A. Fanti, Irene-Anna N. Diakidoy
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The study examined attention allocation in adolescents during processing of social situations, by employing an on-line narrative comprehension methodology and a contradiction paradigm. Adolescents with different, self-rated, levels of reactive and proactive aggression and verbal ability read short stories presenting situations that varied with respect to their consistency with any pre-existing hostile schemas and text-based expectations. Results indicated that, regardless of text content, adolescents with higher reactive and combined aggression levels tended to read texts faster than adolescents with low and average aggression levels. While hostile protagonists’ reactions were generally read faster than mild protagonists’ reactions, adolescents of lower verbal ability and an average risk for aggression read sentences describing hostile protagonists’ reactions at a slower pace compared to mild protagonists’ descriptions. The expected text contradiction effect was not demonstrated. The implications of these findings with respect to the development of effective text-based interventions, aiming in slowing down processing and altering erroneous beliefs are discussed.

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