The Measurement of Human Aggression

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Most social psychology textbooks include a chapter on aggression. The chapters typically begin with a discussion of the increase in the number of violent crimes and then proceed to present psychological research which purportedly explains human aggression. In this chapter I will examine the measures used in this research and comment on the relevance of these approaches to the understanding of the serious violent crime wave which has caused concern in most western countries. The crux of this issue is the definition and measurement of aggression.

The author gratefully acknowledges the comments of Neil Malamuth, Rosaline L. Feierabend, and Howard Kushner on an earlier version of this paper.