Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 327–337

Do Positive Self-Perceptions Have a “Dark Side”? Examination of the Link between Perceptual Bias and Aggression

Authors

  • Corinne F. David
    • Department of PsychologyFlorida State University
  • Janet A. Kistner
    • Florida State University
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1005164925300

Cite this article as:
David, C.F. & Kistner, J.A. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2000) 28: 327. doi:10.1023/A:1005164925300

Abstract

The hypothesis that positive self-perceptions may have a “dark side” was investigated in the present study by examining the relationship between positively biased self-perceptions and aggression. Ratings of actual and perceived social acceptance of third-grade (n = 278), fourth-grade (n = 260), and fifth-grade (n = 321) students were compared to form a measure of perceptual bias. Peers provided nominations for overt and relational aggression. Gender differences were found for aggression (males were more overtly and relationally aggressive than females) but not perceptual bias. African-American children held more positive perceptions of their social acceptance and were perceived by peers as more aggressive than Caucasian children. Even after controlling for the effects of gender and ethnicity, more positively biased perceptions were associated with more peer nominations for overt and relational aggression. Contrary to an optimal range of bias hypothesis, even moderately positive self-perceptions were associated with elevated levels of aggression.

Perceptual biassocial self-perceptionovert and relational aggression

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000