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Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2008 Feb;12(1):3-21. doi: 10.1177/1088868307309874. Epub 2007 Dec 18.

The cognitive basis of trait anger and reactive aggression: an integrative analysis.

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North Dakota State University Fargo, ND 58105, USA.


Cognitive processing approaches to personality have gained momentum in recent years, and the present review uses such a cognitive approach to understand individual differences in anger and reactive aggression. Because several relevant cognitive models have been proposed in separate literatures, a purpose of this review is to integrate such material and evaluate the consistency of relations obtained to date. The analysis reveals that processes related to automatic hostile interpretations, ruminative attention, and effortful control appear to be important contributors to individual differences in angry reactivity. Memory accessibility processes, by contrast, failed to exhibit a consistent relationship with trait anger. This review concludes with the proposal of an integrative cognitive model of trait anger and the discussion of several broader issues, including the developmental origins of cognitive processing patterns and plausible links to temperament-based perspectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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