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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Mar;76(3):367-76.

Catharsis, aggression, and persuasive influence: self-fulfilling or self-defeating prophecies?

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011-3180, USA. bushman@iastate.edu

Abstract

Does media endorsement for catharsis produce a self-fulfilling or a self-defeating prophecy? In Study 1, participants who read a procatharsis message (claiming that aggressive action is a good way to relax and reduce anger) subsequently expressed a greater desire to hit a punching bag than did participants who read an anticatharsis message. In Study 2, participants read the same messages and then actually did hit a punching bag. This exercise was followed by an opportunity to engage in laboratory aggression. Contrary to the catharsis hypothesis and to the self-fulfilling prophecy prediction, people who read the procatharsis message and then hit the punching bag were subsequently more aggressive than were people who read the anticatharsis message.

PMID:
10101875
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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