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Aggress Behav. 2008 Mar-Apr;34(2):175-89.

Paving the road to war with group membership, appraisal antecedents, and anger.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Erratum in

  • Aggress Behav. 2008 May/June;34(3):339.


This study uses appraisal theory, functionalist approach to emotions, and recent theory on group emotions as a basic framework to model the genesis of supporting military action. During the year after the events of 9/11, 588 college students participated in a series of four studies that assessed religious affiliation, appraisal antecedents, anger response to viewing photographs of the 9/11 attack, and support for military action. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that the relation between support for the war and attitudes toward terrorism and relevance could be explained adequately by a model in which anger mediated the effects of attitudes and relevance on support. Attitudes toward terrorism were further identified as mediators that could explain the group effect by Christians. The result was not only generalizable across the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in terms of how consent for war manifests itself--outright calls for bloodshed versus more subtle, politically loaded, posturing (e.g. entreaties to "support our troops").

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